The project aims to overhaul public perception and revitalise the park by increasing safety, accessibility and visibility.
The site is challenging: it is situated in Myers Park, in Auckland City Centre near the Mayoral Drive underpass. The area has had difficulty shaking its perception as an unsafe space, after a series of unfortunate activities. It’s also the bottom of a stormwater basin that prevents flooding of the area between Myers Park and Aotea Square.
In 2015 a design for the space was endorsed; however, it was put on hold due to escalating costs and potential construction issues. Boffa Miskell was bought on board this year to support engineers GHD in developing three options for the site. The three options were presented to Mana Whenua engagement groups and the Local Board, where a preferred option became apparent.
We worked closely with the artists, who had already established narratives and designs for the site, and approached the landscape design with sensitivity; acknowledging the heritage of the site but creating a space that meets the future vision for this city park.
The complexity of the site comes from the significant level changes, underpass context and stormwater basin elements. In addition, the artwork within the soffit of the underpass had already been designed and was moving forward. We worked with the artists, stakeholders and Auckland Council to establish a suitable design for the underpass, the steps up to Mayoral Drive, and the lower bowl within the park itself. Creating an accessible route was paramount to link the park to the city, Aotea Square and beyond; and significant level changes made this a challenge.
Other concerns included potential fatigue from various stakeholder groups, as the project had been put on pause several times over the past five years; and then once again during the first COVID-19 lockdown period.
The Boffa Miskell team sought to aid the civil engineer in increasing the stormwater capacity of the basin, whilst allowing the basin to be usable for gathering/resting and playing, integrating into the rest of the park. The landscape design celebrates the sites heritage as a former stream bed, and the artworks conceptualise this, integrating a strong cultural narrative into the urban environment.
Design through concept development for resource consent and engagement