It is no Federation Square but it is an improvement, the Auckland City Council have just released new and updated renders for the [AOTEA SQUARE] upgrade which will be ready for The Rugby World Cup 2011. They propose to give the square a distinct and contemporary identity as well as providing a safer, family-friendly environment for residents and visitors to enjoy. A report endorsing the procurement of a permanent big screen within [AOTEA SQUARE] recommends that a permanent screen be located on the south face of the SkyCity Metro building to enhance or promote events, performing arts and city centre activities. We cannot agree more and we believe that this decision is long overdue. It is the way things are moving in the 21st century.
[STAGING + EVENTS]
[AOTEA SQUARE] will be a much better venue for a wide range of outdoor events - formal and informal, large and small. The main paved area will be widened and levelled, which means crowds of up to 20,000 can gather comfortably. The surrounding steps can double as seats or staging. Unifying the paved and grassed areas improves the square for events and everyday use. The new car park roof will raise [AOTEA SQUARE's] level by an average of one metre, which will improve connections with surrounding buildings.
[TREES + GRASS TERRACES]
A healthy stock of about 63 trees will be introduced in the new landscape mainly at the southern end of the square. These include a range of ten native species: nikau, kowhai, pohutukawa, puriri, kauri, kohekohe, karaka, putaputaweta, taraire and totara, in addition to the three pin oaks, which will be retained at the Queen Street entrance. Ten pohutukawa will be planted in two rows of five in the hard paved area at the northern end of the square. Pohutukawa were specially selected as they are hardy and can withstand tree pit constraints and heat. The grassed areas will be terraced, stepping down towards the paved area with better views for staged events. The terraces will provide sunny and shaded spots for people to relax and watch events or enjoy a lunch break in the fringe areas. The steps between terraces provide extra seating. The layout of the terraces is designed to reflect the architectural lines of the Auckland Town Hall.
[PAVING + SEATING + LIGHTING]
The paving is mostly granite, with honed concrete on the stairs and terraces. A pattern representing Auckland's volcanic map is proposed for the main paved area. The proposed seating is tailor-made to suit [AOTEA SQUARE]. Long bench seats, in strategic spots, will be wide enough for people to sit on both sides. Square seats will be clustered to suit groups or individuals, with good views of the main staging areas. Steps and terraces also provide informal seating.A series of pole lights, designed to echo the styling of Auckland's Sky Tower, will light the pathways, trees and seats at night. Uplights will illuminate the Town Hall façade, while low glare dome fittings will provide subtle lighting in the paving and lawn areas.
Now that the City Council have come to their senses and endorsed a permanent Big Screen, it would be great if Sky City can join the party and change the facade of their Metro Building. Something that will be compliment a party atmosphere and 21st Century meeting place, something like the Rundle Lantern in Adelaide: