So what now for The Cloud?
The word on the street is that now the Government has said it’s over to Auckland to do what it wishes, there is a strong reluctance to tear it down, we’ll keep it for at least another five years, but no one seems to have a clear view of what use it will have.
BIZARRE: “I wandered lonely as a cloud ” watching rugby on TV
The Cloud, we may recall, was thrust on us good folk by the Government who were under the impression, aided by the powerful IRB, that people needed somewhere prominent to drink and watch the games.
The Cloud: From a distance it’s interesting…
It would serve as a visible marketing enticement to the RWC on the re-invented Queens Wharf along with the tarting up of an the old shed as literally a booze barn of old.
The term Party Central with its binge alcohol connotations was cleverly worked out of the language and replaced by the more family friendly term RWC Fanzone and billed as a place people could watch the TV matches on a big screen.
FANZONE: Party Central morphed into the RWC Fanzone but it was still a place to drink
In the end, the nation got collectively into the RWC so it did not need extra marketing but some people did feel the need to have a shared experience somewhere while watching the games.
The Queens Wharf become especially a fashionable new place for typically faddish there-to-be-seen locals who deserted their Ponsonby haunts plunging those businesses into financial hardship during the Cup.
The Cloud, made of structural steel, timber, opaque fabric PVC, glass and clear ETFE, is interesting but not an iconic waterfront Sydney Opera House for Auckland.
Even the most sceptical like me have found it has certainly strangely grown on me especially when viewed from the Devonport ferry or a distance.
THE CLOUD: Hang out, drink, watch TV, look cool
During the RWC, it acted as a TV media centre for SKY to broadcast from and also served a good purpose as a trade exhibit area for overseas visitors and for the Pacific island leaders forum held just before the RWC got underway.
INSIDE: The Cloud was used for the Pacific Islands expo
But as an expo place, it’s relatively small and competes with the new nearby Viaduct Events Centre at Wynyard Quarter.
Anyway Sky City plans Auckland’s main international exhibition area with their gifted convention centre in return for some casino concessions from the Government.
Shed 10 was given a $4 million makeover, painted, repaired to make the roof watertight, given new doors,and power, water and telco connections added to the nearly 100-year-old building.
SHED 10: A real Kiwi booze barn
That now seems destined to act as the customs processing shed for the fast-growing cruise ship industry until a proper cruise terminal is build on Queens or Captain Cook wharf.
A look at the rough edges of our unplanned CBD landscape reveals sadly that Auckland is a city that has had various projects forced on it as some whim of the moment or bad planning decision.
Should we thank Murray for The Cloud and find some use for it or dismantle it as happened to the big rugby ball yesterday?
Or say no more temporary fixes until we have the proper debate about Auckland’s precious waterfront, led by the draft waterfront Plan?
I think we should do something uncharacteristic in Auckland planning and take a deep breath and think carefully before doing anything. Your thoughts?
It was criticised when it was unveiled, but now it seems Aucklanders have been won over by the $9.8 million Cloud on the waterfront.
In a street poll, the majority of locals said they wanted to keep the venue and suggested its future uses could include anything from a museum, to a concert venue to a bistro.
Waterfront Auckland, the Government and Auckland Council are involved in ongoing discussions about the structure’s future.
Plans for the $9.8m temporary structure were unveiled last October but critics labelled the undulating white structure as “The Slug” and heritage lobbyists argued the historic Shed 11 shouldn’t have been demolished to make way for the structure.
But Aucklanders polled last week seemed to have changed their tune.
A number of people described the temporary structure as “awesome” and everyone agreed it should remain on Auckland’s waterfront.
The venue, which has had nearly a million visitors, has hosted a showcase of Kiwi innovation, late night DJs, live music acts including Goldenhorse and Don McGlashan, and a Cordon Bleu culinary match between New Zealand and France.
Paul Leacock said: “It’s great. There’s a lot of energy and excitement there – it’s awesome.”
Jury Ropata believed it could be further utilised for events and concerts.
“I reckon it should stay just for other tourists to come and have a look that haven’t seen it yet.”
Carolyn Chrochtan said the structure had been a good use of taxpayers’ money.
Waterfront Auckland chairman Bob Harvey says he is “very keen” to see the Queens Wharf structure remain in Auckland following its popularity during the World Cup.
He says the council-controlled organisation (CCO) is working with the mayor and the Government to determine costs involved in keeping the structure.
“It’s hugely popular and it’s quite clear there would be no problem in finding bookings for it.
“And so, on the success of it we are all committed to looking at how it might stay.”
A spokesman from the mayor’s office says an announcement about The Cloud’s future wouldn’t be made “anytime soon”.
But he says the mayor is committed to maintaining Queens Wharf as a public space and says it will be used as a cruise ship terminal for the time being.
The 180-metre venue, constructed of steel frame and fabric covering, can be divided into four to host multiple events and hold up to 6000 people.
It opened to the public on September 6 – three days before the RWC kicked off.
During the tournament it has hosted VIPs, international media and thousands of rugby fans who come to watch tournament matches.
Last week, 828,889 visitors had passed through the waterfront fan zones at Queens and Captain Cook wharves during the Rugby World Cup.