So many things to say about what can be seen in this shot.


Clearly another glass clad tower will not be out of place here.

Also won’t it be great to get rid of that cacophany of steel and glass that is the rain shelters opposite, and the blank walled box of the dreary Downtown Centre.

But in particular look at the number of people standing on that one corner versus the likely number in those two cars [and you can’t count the taxi driver, he’s part of the machine, in fact he’s about to be replaced by the machine].

Barnes Dance
Barnes Dance

Here they are in motion. This is not rush hour either, it is 11:19am on a Thursday in fact [ahhh, metadata]. These things, these carbon based life forms, with hopes, dreams, desires and wallets, are what the development coming to that site in the background is all about. And it matters enormously that they are on foot. People driving by are of no consequence to the businesses on that block. The people delivered by the 200-300 carparks to built under it are also of little consequence to the retail part of the development. They’ll mostly arrive in the morning with one person in them for the towers above, and stay all day. No the economics of the millions being spent on the purchase and redevelopment here entirely depend on the people who arrive by Transit. Bus, Train, and Ferry.

Like the Britomart development, what is pretty and successful above ground there is only so because of what we the city built under ground first. The ever increasing numbers of people arriving on all modes in the City Centre and at this intersection of Transit services in particular is the foundation of this upgrade. It is also important to add to this the ever increasing numbers now living in the city and those walking or riding there too. This is a virtuous circle at work.

CBD Transport Change

It’s simple; more humans, fewer cars = successful city.

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    1. Exactly John, A couple of hundred carparks here and the others secured at the Downtown AT building are inconsequential to the performance of these towers and, especially the retail. At peak Britomart already gets close to its current design capacity of 11,500 people per hour, AT tell me, add the ferries, buses, people who live in walking distance, and the smaller numbers who bike or walk from further, like Freemans Bay, Parnell, Grafton, and there it is: The spatial economics of cities at work. Driving is just too spatially inefficient to service real inner city densities. And Auckland already has these.

      And, before Westfield sold Downtown it was their most profitable mall in NZ per square metre, and their only one with no carpark! Same, I’m told goes for the Warehouse, upstairs.

  1. Based on that 1 data point, there has to be a strong argument for significantly increasing the time the barnes dance lasts vs the amount of time allocated to cars (ie. pedestrians get green walking man until atleast 30 cars are waiting). The only issue with this is the impact on Buses, so maybe green light only gets triggered when a bus needs it.

  2. The tower itself is part of a huge wall dividing the city from the harbour. It’s block-like shape adds to that. In Tokyo they found that a wall along the bay raised city temperatures by 10 degrees.

    1. It doesn’t look like a solid wall. Brent Toderian from Vancouver was recommending a 50 to 70m gap from memory for viewshafts etc. I’d be interested on what he thinks and Urban Design Group. But 5000 above /beside a transport hub plus retail is pretty cool. Manukau Station won architects award last year being integrated above rail station with university campus. I think this blows it away. More integration with rapid transit is a success story may it continue

    2. Which is why Tokyo is referred to as a ‘Heat Island’ in summer and lots of effort is being put in to finding ways to have foliage grow up the sides of buildings on a permanent basis to reduce that heat. Regularly sweltering in 39 degrees between July and September when it should in fact be around 29 degrees, is not pleasant in the slightest I can assure you, even with ready access to cold drinks and air conditioning.

  3. Interesting. Do you have data (and the source of the data please) for the numbers arriving in the CBD by PT/PV in the off-peak period illustrated in your photo? Just curious.

    1. Totally agree Josh. Think pedestrian counts should be scrutinized on all roads around here especially now officially strategic fit with cycling and rapid transit. Take out car movements Queen St and Quay St probably even helps car flow anyway when you look big picture.

  4. Good work Patrick. Carbon based life forms with hopes,dreams, desires and wallets vs tin? Hello universal wake up call!!!! I hope the 200 carpark, isn’t adding access where it shouldn’t be? Is that lower Albert as well as buses?

    1. Has a specific wind tunnel test been done? What will this structure do to ground level wind speed outside the Britomart frontage? Glass roofs might not be the only protection pedestrians need on Queen Street as horizontal wind may need vertical obstructions to slow northerly blasts coming in from the Waitemata. Such structures might make the architects drawings irrelevant. Big wind deflection structures could make the streetscape eventually look quite different.

      I thought glass sided slabs were so 1960’s.

  5. “Also won’t it be great to get rid of that cacophany of steel and glass that is the rain shelters opposite” – paaaalease…… Auckland is one of the wettest cities in the world. These provide much needed protection from the elements for pedestrians and people waiting for buses or making their way to Britomart or the Ferry Terminal.
    Otherwise everything else in your post is great.

    1. Auckland really isn’t that wet, despite what the locals think. Gets about as much rain as Sydney, far less than Brisbane for example.

      1. Except that Auckland rains more often. Sydney and especially Brisbane have their rain in subtropical downpours, often torrentially. Auckland’s is lighter and more frequent.

        More rain shelters everywhere, please.

      2. Actually yes it is. People might forget this after the record breaking dry summer we’ve had but come winter time it rains almost every single day at some point. As George D pointed out certain other cities get their rain in huge downpours while ours is more frequent and lighter.

        @Stuart… And to get to lower Albert they will be walking along and through lower Queen and this new development. People walking from the ferry terminal into the City will also be walking through lower Queen.

    2. Some things to note. There will be a new street edge from Customs St to the set back yard in front of the eastern side of HSBC, this will have shops all the way along and new balconies. It is in fact a Council regulation that property owners provide these. This will be the case on all sides of the new development and the lanes. My compliant is about the design of the current one, I look forward to its demise.
      Also only 4% of traffic to and from Britomart uses the current pedestrian tunnel, most people in practice do not share the one or two commenters here obsession with rain. People prefer being on the street. Good riddance to the tunnel.

    1. AC should have a proper and consistent signage policy that bans OTT Billboards like that one.
      We’re not Times Square nor should we seek to emulate it with crappy signs on our “Dress Circle” buildings.

      Large “waterfront” buildings should not have large signs/advertisements on them except one at the top for the building signage rights.

    1. Car Trending Downwards already into CBD even with all our money last 60 years and a global network. Rail going like Brendon last Friday, AT Board Strategic Fit Rapid Transit and Active Modes LTP results cycle then rail. New Bus Network not even rolled out. Not sure many coming in by car in the future. Wouldn’t put any of my money on it being over 15% in 15 years coming into CBD and 25% elsewhere. But I guess time will tell. But if I’m right quite a few recent major investments look ridiculous and a complete waste of resources when the missing modes are no brainers as shooting up.

    2. Think Richard might be forgetting the 40 or 50 thousand people who live in the cbd and don’t arrive in the area by car or public transport.

    3. I’m preempting the screenline survey, but the figure you are looking for is about 40%. But that’s only those that enter the City Centre, as Tim says thousands already live in the city and don’t commute in.

  6. Another way of reading the provided stats is that more businesses are still setting up in the CBD rather than in the suburbs where people live?

      1. Yes I guess the current inner city dwellers are not being counted as % entering CBD. I propose we add you fully to the pedestrian and cycle %.

  7. Yes I would like to know about the source of the stats too. Can it be broken down into coming from North Shore and other areas? (North Shore is propably the easiest to differentitate)

  8. Just to give annual rainfall comparison between Auckland and 3 UK cities, Brisbane and Sydney:

    Edinburgh :704.3mm London :591.8mm Manchester ;828.8mm
    Brisbane :993.0mm Sydney :958.6
    Wellington :1207.1mm Auckland ;1212.4mm
    Source: Wikipedia
    I think that the above pretty well supports why there should be shelter in Auckland.

    That said the current concourse is particularly useless at providing rain shelter as due to it’s height it allows protection for those below only when rain falls on totally windless days .
    Also of note is that the subway from Britomart to the square will not be reinstated after the rail tunnels are built.

    1. “Also of note is that the subway from Britomart to the square will not be reinstated after the rail tunnels are built.”

      The “Subway”TM in Britomart, will no doubt remain.

  9. P Verner is right. The HSBC building is bad enough, now this monstrosity will totally separate Queen St from the harbour. What a gross failure of urban planning. The ferry building is lovely however. Why the hell does Auckland Council want a wall of towers ringing the harbour? Wellington has it right. Auckland is piecemeal and wrecked by greedy developers, pushing ‘externalities’ onto everyone else.

    1. What part of Queen St does the new building ‘separate from the harbour’? Yes the HSBC has always been bad, as its on the northern and seaward side of the block. This one isn’t. The new tower will not even be on Queen St. It’s on the corner of Albert and Customs. It will affect the views of people in Quay West tower, but live by the sword die by the sword, people in tall towers can’t complian about other towers… I don’t get your issue, Wellington is a sleepy little fishing village with government plastered on top, it has few growth pressures, and a port that does very little business… We can’t build like Wellington in Auckland, ie not much.

      1. I love Wellington, it’s just that it has its own problems and opportunities and they are not like Auckland’s. Scale, growth rate, and topography are all very different. Plus other things, government and seismic vulnerability are two.

        1. This is true, biggest problem with Wellington is to many politicians in one place!!!

        2. Undoubtedly they have a great waterfront, although with recent development at Wynyard Quarter were not doing to bad in that department. We have caught up in terms of urban culture, food and drink which is only getting better with an increasing population. We have to continue with this momentum!

      2. I hope Wellington doesn’t get like Auckland. A single large authority with no local input where representatives are side lined in favour of a bunch of appointed managers all working in silos. Yet that is exactly what the Local Government Commission wants – there’s a bunch who can’t learn from their own mistakes.

        1. A quick visit to Auckland as a region, comparing the before and after might change your mind. In the last 5 years our city has matured massively, cycle infrastructure, public transport investment etc has been a vast improvement with a vision for the city working together as a whole. Although there have been problems through the implementation and its still not perfect, all up, becoming a Supercity has been a massive positive. But then again Wellingtonians love their politics.

        2. Yeah it’s just great having all those little mayors of Porirua etc running the show; what a joke. Well planned amalgamation would be great for Wellington too. All the little councils get played by gov agencies, together they have a chance… as in Auckland.

  10. Are there plans for a central transport hub? Albert street seems a long way from the trains. How will that be linked?

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