Talk: Can Heritage Be Ugly?

Talk: Can Heritage Be Ugly?

Ben Schrader, a Wellington public historian, will give a talk on ‘Can Heritage be Ugly?’ at Futuna Chapel 2:45pm to 3:30pm on Sunday 28 October.

In 2017 the Environment Court rejected Victoria University’s proposal to delist Wellington’s Gordon Wilson Flats from the city’s heritage schedule. The University wanted to demolish the building and had argued its heritage values were insufficient to retain it. The Court found otherwise. Many Wellingtonians were incredulous. Ninety-one percent of respondents to a Stuff poll agreed the Flats were an eyesore and not worth saving, a response that suggested a building needed to be beautiful to be regarded as heritage. This talk canvases the issue. New Zealand’s first heritage buildings were chosen for their historical rather than their architectural importance. Only later did architectural significance come into play. But is it now the case that architecture assumes too great an importance in deciding what is and isn’t heritage? Can an ugly building also be a heritage one?

Ben Schrader is a Wellington public historian specialising in urban and built environment history. His books include: We Call it Home: A History of State Housing in New Zealand (Auckland, 2005) and the award winning The Big Smoke: New Zealand Cities, 1840-1920 (Wellington, 2016).

No booking is required. Seating is limited to 100 persons. Please be seated by 2:30pm.

Location: 67 Futuna Close (off Friend Street), Karori, Wellington City

Parking: Please note that there is no car parking available within Futuna Close. Please park on Friend Street.

Cost: A Koha would be appreciated but is voluntary.

The Friends of Futuna Charitable Trust

The Friends of Futuna Society has been established by the Trust with the aim of seeking membership from the national and local community to assist with the ongoing maintenance and operating costs of the chapel and gardens, support events as well as contribute to the funding of the establishment and maintenance of a Futuna Chapel/John Scott Archive.

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