Downtown Auckland is one big construction site these days with City Rail Link and the Commercial Bay development in full swing. As interesting as the construction is, even more interesting is what we’ll get at the completion of it all. Recently, City Rail Link Ltd, the organisation now delivering the CRL, released the concept design for the new plaza that will be built on Lower Queen St, between Customs and Quay streets.
The City Rail Link Design team in conjunction with Auckland Council has been working on the design for Lower Queen Street and Britomart station surrounds for when the CRL work there is completed.
The concept design has just been completed for review by the Auckland Urban Design Panel and the City Centre Advisory Board.
What’s proposed is a creation of a stunning plaza and pedestrian space for Auckland in Lower Queen Street outside the Britomart Transport Centre.
The team is working in partnership with Mana Whenua to generate a high quality flexible space that responds to the unique Auckland narrative.
A 67-page document steps though many of the elements that have factored into the design. Factors such as the land use, heritage buildings, pedestrian and vehicle movement, cultural integration and more. This also includes some of the plans for surrounding areas, which will see substantial improvement with most of the downtown area turned over to pedestrians. Some of this we saw as part of the Council’s updated vision for the city centre. Notably in here, the current temporary Britomart entrance becomes a plaza, as does the short section of Commerce St between Tyler St and Quay St while all other the roads within the Britomart area become shared spaces.
Here’s the design for Lower Queen St. It uses paving to split the space up into three areas. At the southern end, paving represents the Waihorotiu Stream that flows under Queen St while the paving at the northern end represents the old foreshore. These are separated by an Ātea (on a Marae it is a “courtyard, public forum – open area in front of the wharenui where formal welcomes to visitors takes place and issues are debated“). The Paving design does seem a nice touch, I just hope it will be obvious what it represents is from ground level.
And some closer views. The numbers are the same as the ones above.
And at the on the southern end
The images below highlight how the space has been split up
Lastly, here are a few suggestions for how this new space could be used for events.
The CRL works in this area and the final layout of the plaza is likely to be completed in around 2019-20.