One of the things I love most about my new adopted home – Wellington – is its vast amount of semi-urban hiking opportunities. Within a quick 20 minute walk from my front doorstep you can find some of the most spectacular views over the city and Wellington Harbour.
On one of my recent morning treks I finally got around to exploring a curious concrete building sitting on the peak of a hill not far from my house. What I thought might be some sort of water tank covered in graffiti turned out to be something far more interesting. As I climbed the hill I found myself amongst a collection of concrete foundations from what appeared to bunkers or some sort of military installment. Most of these half-dozen or so structures consisted of an octagonal central room, the roof long missing, with several covered rooms radiating from this hub. What was left of the buildings appeared to have been disused for several decades. However, in the meantime, they had taken on a new function: An outdoor gallery for numerous pieces of street art.
I did a little google research and found that the site was formerly an anti-aircraft station from the Second World War, built when there were fears that New Zealand my be subject to air raids by Japan.
There seems to be a complex and thoroughly modern irony that such an urban form of expression, intent on reclaiming public spaces and taking art out of the galleries and onto the street, should find a home in such a pastoral open air gallery. A great example of peace-time conversion, anyway.
Find below some of my favourite pieces: