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Artistic Auckland bridge wins international award

Media release

15 September 2014

Artistic Auckland bridge wins international award

Auckland’s waterfront Point Resolution Bridge has won a prestigious international award - this year’s International Architecture Award that honours new and cutting-edge design.

The award, jointly run by Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, has become the most significant and distinguished international awards programme of its kind in the world.

The bridge designed by architectural firm Warren and Mahoney replaced the original 1930s footbridge that linked Tamaki drive and the Parnell Baths.

The sweeping combination of curved steel, concrete and glass is patterned with motifs significant to local iwi. Hanna Scott, Auckland Council’s Manager Arts & Culture Programming says the award highlights the impact that can be achieved by integrating public art into design projects. The artist Henriata Nicholas was contracted as part of the design team. “This work has quickly become a striking part of the visual identity of the Auckland waterfront, giving visibility to local Maori identity as a point of difference for New Zealand.

“My favourite aspect of this work is the way that the shadows and effect of light make the bridge come alive in all sorts of weather conditions.”

The contemporary bridge was conceived as a series of three sculpted arches, in turn supporting and cradling a pedestrian deck. Each arch was designed as a three dimensional sculptural element - an exoskeleton to support the pedestrian deck.

The deck consists of a simple shaped concrete beam - hull-like in shape alluding to the yachts and the harbour beyond. A glass balustrade above the deck has a white layer applied at its base to provide continuity to the concrete deck. The deck is cantilevered out over the harbour to provide a new viewing platform and enhance the functionality of the simple bridge.

Simon Dodd, associate at Warren and Mahoney says: “Seamless integration of the selected artist’s concepts through iterative analysis and careful detailing by the designers, has produced a successful outcome appropriate for the iconic waterfront location in the city seeking to become the world’s most liveable.

Local artist Henriata Nicholas designed a pattern featuring pungarungaru designs depicting the ebbs and flows of movement through the water and movement of traffic through and over the bridge.

The pattern is engraved into the concrete beam as well as the glass balustrade.

Ms Nicholas, who was also recently designed and managed the artistic creation and development of surface artworks for the main link bridge at the revamped Mt Albert train station says, “Pungarungaru is a beautiful reflection of a collaborative relationship between iwi, council, designers and the environment. As a Maori artist, public artworks provide an opportunity to record a visual whakapapa of creative storytelling. Through indentations, patterns, colour and texture the creative idea becomes a sensory taonga, a transformed identification of a growing changing community.

Mayor Len Brown says: “The work features on the cover of the newly-printed public art policy, with good reason, as it’s a stunning combination of hard infrastructure and creative excellence for Aucklanders to engage with, to explore the city and to take pictures from.”

This year, the museum received a record number of entries for new buildings, landscape architecture, and urban planning for the highly contested award.

The new bridge was opened in May 2013 by Mayor Len Brown and Waitemata Local Board Chair Shale Chambers, following a blessing by Ngati Whatua o Orakei.

Ends

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