Te Wero Bridge // Auckland // New Zealand // Denton Corker Marshall

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In September 2008, architects Denton Corker Marshall have won a competition to design the Te Wero Bridge in Auckland, New Zealand. The dramatic and distinctive bridge design is estimated to cost in the region of $50m to build.

The twin-leaf aluminium bascule bridge will carry cyclists, pedestrians and buses between the city center and Wynyard Quarter, a regeneration area on the waterfront.

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The bridge features two liftable decks – one for vehicles and the other for pedestrians and cycles – supported by a 60 meter high mast.

The following is from Denton Corker Marshall:

‘The  bridge will link the city’s CBD with Wynyard Quarter – an industrial area of Auckland’s waterfront that will be transformed over the next 25 years. Intended for public transport/cycle/pedestrian use, the Te Wero Bridge is a twin leaf bascule aluminium bridge with a vertical tower/mast of 60m.

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The deck is split longitudinally into two separate components: the south leaf, longer and broader than the north, carries the two road lanes; the north leaf provides a 6m wide pedestrian/cycle path. The bridge will have an opening span of 40 meter to enable large boats to access Viaduct Harbor.

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As the bridge opens, the two leaves separate coming to rest in a ‘V’ configuration with the decks angled obliquely to the mast and each other. The aerodynamic silhouette of the leaves suggest the modern sails of contemporary racing yachts.

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Describing the design, Director Neil Bourne commented, ‘At rest, the striking mast stands sentinel in the heart of the harbor.  In motion, the blades rise, split and then separate, twisting so edge becomes face.  Upright, the three elements settle into a dynamic, yet elegant, composition.’

Professor John Hunt, Professor of Architecture at the University of Auckland and Chair of the Judging Panel said, “The judging panel agreed that this striking submission stood out from others in respect of its high level of design innovation and the unique way the twin leaves open.”

The design team are Denton Corker Marshall, Hyder Consulting and Kenneth Grubb Associates.

Other shortlisted competition entries included submissions from Wilkinson Eyre and Anish Kapoor.

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The following is from the city’s website:

A waterfront attraction

The council’s competition challenged people around the world to design an outstanding opening bridge on Auckland’s waterfront.

The judging panel agreed that this submission stood out from the others in respect of its high level of design innovation and the unique way the twin leaves opened.

The panel also noted that the profile of the opening leaves reflected yacht hulls and the mast created a landmark which could be illuminated for special events.

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Key design features

* responds to its harbor context and distant views with large-scale distinctive cultural form and elegant profile
* vertical tower rises above yacht masts and creates a permanent gateway feature to mark crossing point regardless of whether the bridge is open or closed
* deck splits in two as it rises, with the leaves sweeping apart to come to rest in a V configuration
* the longer, broader south leaf carries the two passenger transport lanes while the north leaf is exclusively for pedestrians and cycles
* the three primary elements of differing length and width form an asymmetric composition. When viewed from different angles, they create infinite combinations of juxtapositions as the bridge leaves move towards the mast.

Construction features

* lightweight deck and counterweight arrangement result in very low energy use
* deck can be fabricated using local boat building expertise
* material selection gives excellent durability and low maintenance regime.

Te Wero Bridge was to be constructed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.  Responding to the current economic environment, the council has proposed pushing this date out to 2014, as expressed in the council’s draft 10-year plan. This will be available for public feedback in April and May 2009. Auckland City Council will finalise its 10-year plan for the city in June 2009.

For more information visit: www.aucklandcity.govt.nz.




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