Waitakere City Council ran a design competition requesting proposals for a walkway from West Coast Road through to Glen Eden shopping mall. The existing building over the original tunnel was to be demolished to make way for a more open and clearly defined entry to the mall. Designers were required to collaborate with a local artist, and had a budget of $150 000 to work with.
The following extract is from the Waitakere City Council brief: “This walkway is an opportunity to create a structure that reflects both the local character of Glen Eden as well as New Zealand’s geographical position as a South Pacific country, referencing the diverse cultures, history, lifestyle, climate, light, and landscape of the nation”.
Council’s arts programme promotes the concept that art in public spaces should be sensitive to:
– the site or space
– the history
– the cultural context
– the identity of the community
Our winning proposal integrates the natural and built environments that are a strong feature of Waitakere City. The form of the walkway and the canopy are easy flowing curves to reflect the natural forms found in nature. This form creates a focal point for the township and produces a definite link to Glenmall. The services of sculptor Stuart Slater had been
incorporated into our design.
We provided sketches of our design ideas to guide Stuart into the forms that had been created.
Mr, Slater manufactured the balustrades, ornamental lamp supports and screening of the existing concrete columns along the existing dairy wall. We asked Stuart to create copies of local trees to cover the concrete columns of the adjacent building. Mr Slater has created scenery, which would reflect the Waitakere ranges. The columns are obscured by an iconic form of Kauri , Nikau, and tree fern sculptures. We also asked Mr Slater to create two Brass Relief pieces for the wall – a train scene and a native flora and fauna scene.
The theme of the Railway also features strongly in our winning proposal. This is reflected in the use of recycled railway lines for the structure of the canopy and walkway. Curved railway roof beams will support timber sleepers, in turn supporting the glass roof. The landscaping design will be predominantly ferns and palms, with the entire underside of the ramp having low-level ferns as typically found in stream locations. At the upper level a small pond will cascade down a rock slope to a stream which runs under the ramp to another pond. Larger feature trees have been specified to the open spaces, again in native ferns and palms.
Our winning proposal remains a design achievement that we are very proud of.