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Design Review: Volume 4, Issue 4 (August-September 1952)

Here and There

page 76

Here and There

Untapped Riches

Having a large basement, I naturally have it piled up with every sort of discard—odd bits of furniture, old suitcases, beer bottles (empty), an old bed (for emergencies), and a bicycle tyre. One of my recent clean-outs resulted in sending some of the furniture to the auction mart—a perfectly good sideboard (solid oak), an elegant if rather tattered upright chair, a music stool with carved legs and embroidered seat, and a large oval mirror in stand, suitable only for very stuffy boudoirs. The sideboard, the only really useful piece, will not sell, the chair went for four shillings, and the stool for about twenty-five shillings. With the cunning that only a second-hand dealer knows, the mirror and stand were placed on the stage, labelled ‘Paul Duval’, and sold for six pounds.

* * *

Not Wanted

The Wellington City Council have two pieces of machinery on their hands. Finding a place for them keeps one half of the city amused and the other half exasperated. Sites for the multicoloured and multi-jet fountain, in storage since the Centennial, have been found in every open space around the city—even, at one stage, in the harbour. But, thank goodness, it remains in storage. The other object is the city clock, which has been without a tower since the 1942 earthquake flattened the Post Office skyline. The Council has decided to place it on the tower of a high city building, at a cost of £4,000. It is not that a clock is needed—there is already a good one outside the Post Office just down the street that serves very well—but of having a four-faced clock and nowhere to face it.

A National Trust?

The issue before last of Design Review contained a plea for legislation to preserve buildings and places of historical importance. A Bill has recently been before Parliament for this very purpose, but Design Review was a bit late to claim any credit for that. I was rather disappointed in the Bill; it did not seem ambitious enough. No funds were to be provided for actual preservation, and no powers to prevent actual demolition or alterations. I fear that the Bill will lead to no more than lists being prepared. A start, and a good one; but why be so timid?

* * *

Heating the House

Mr. K. E. F. Grenny's article in the last issue of Design Review brings to mind again our backwardness in house-heating. While we pride ourselves on a high living standard we are prepared to live in draughty and partly heated houses. But Mr. Grenny points out that we lose most of the heat we do generate, by lack of insulation. Of course, it has always been a question of not having a reasonably priced insulating material on the market even if we were prepared to use it. Such materials are now available, and the costs appear to be reasonable, especially when compared with the cost of fuel. However, Mr. Grenny made no mention of insulating floors. By-law requirements for ventilation under houses are so generous that there is always a wind whistling through under the floorboards ready to lift up the carpets if it can find a chink in the joints. But the use of slagwool in walls and ceilings would in itself be well worth the added initial cost. In fact, tests have shown that the extra cost of insulating walls and ceilings will be saved in three to five years on the fuel bill. So far as the floor goes, lay it in concrete or put down a layer of building paper under the felt.