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A New Vision For Aotea Precinct?

One of Auckland’s busiest public spaces could be in line for an entirely new look.

Auckland City is asking for public comment on 5 design ‘concepts’ for Aotea Square, and its surrounding area, known as Aotea Precinct.

Councillor David Hay, Chairperson of Auckland City Council’s Town Hall & Civic Committee, and a member of the design assessment panel, says that the concepts illustrate some exciting opportunities for the area.

"The designs provide an opportunity to develop a destination point in the heart of the Central Area and complement the public space and excitement of the harbour edge."

The designs are on public display at the Aotea Centre, and the CPO building in Queen Elizabeth Square, between 6-13 June.

Councillor Hay says Aotea Square is one of the city’s most important public spaces.

“The area has huge value, both as a public gathering place and as the heart of the city’s cultural and entertainment district.

“However, the Council recognises that more can be done to improve its appeal, which is why we are asking the public to help us decide on how the square could look, and how it could be used, in the future.”

Earlier this year, Auckland City invited proposals on the Aotea precinct, sending a design brief to those consortia that expressed an interest. Five consortia were selected: City Design & City Projects (joint proposal), Aotea Group (Barry Rae, Transurban Ltd, Clinton Bird Urban Design Ltd and LA4 Landscape Architects), Architectus:CHS, Boffa Miskell and Ted Smyth & Associates.

Auckland City asked for ideas as to how the square, and its surrounding area, might be altered – offering better connections between nearby public spaces such as Myers Park, and enhancing it’s general environment.

The brief stems from Council’s commitment to develop a series of ‘cultural precincts’ throughout the city – part of its 20 year Strategic Plan.

Each of the design concepts will be on public display until 13 June, after which an assessment panel made up of councillors, Council staff, professional architects and designers, Iwi and representatives from the Aotea Centre will consider public comments and the design concepts.

A decision on the preferred concept is expected by 28 July.

Councillor Hay is hopeful that the designs will ultimately lead to a major upgrade of the entire area.

"Although no funds are currently committed to implementing the preferred concept design, I am confident the concepts on display will stimulate debate amongst politicians and the community, and will encourage funds to be committed to improving this vibrant square.

“I believe we should be contributing to the excitement and vibrancy of the precinct which already includes the revitalised facilities of The Edge (Auckland Town Hall, the Aotea Centre, Civic Theatre) and Force Entertainment Centre.

The designs will be on public display at the Blues Bar, Aotea Centre 8am - 6pm Mon-Fri, 9am -5pm Sat-Sun and also at the former Chief Post Office Building, Queen Elizabeth Square, 9am - 5.30pm Mon-Fri, 10am - 4pm Sat-Sun.


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