We've been running our 'My Favourite Building' page at the back of the magazine since 2005, and recently decided it'd be quite fun to look back over some of the people and buildings we've featured. Earlier this year, Auckland gallerist Michael Lett chose Queen Street's Metro Centre (the big cinema complex with the IMAX theatre, behind the Civic), a mid-1990s exercise in futurism by Walker Group Architects. The photo is by Alastair Guthrie (Michael's head is just visible peering off the bridge at the top).


Here's what Michael had to say about why he likes the building.


“Before this space became Queen Street’s Metro Centre, it had DKD café and a Hare Krishna vegetarian café and was somewhat bohemian. When the new building went up it was fabulously ugly and I hated it, but over the years it’s become more decrepit and I’ve warmed to it. It’s dawned on me that this could be the Civic Theatre of my generation. 

"In Auckland there is a tendency to continually renovate or try to improve existing architecture, often to the detriment of the building. I was quite sad when they got rid of the Metro Centre’s rocket-shaped pillars and the tube TVs with their fibreglass, bug-like screens above the movie counter – I tried to buy one but they’d been thrown out. 

"If we leave this place alone for 50 years we’ll be revelling in its design. It’s a fine example of the façadism trend, and it’s so 90s with the overtones of sci-fi futurism in its fitout. And who doesn’t love a rocket lift?”
 
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