Visions for new national stadium

Architects see new stadium somewhere close to or on the water, with commercial buzz an important factor.
Design for the new Auckland Waterfront Stadium by Pete Bossley of Bossley Architects Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Design for the new Auckland Waterfront Stadium by Pete Bossley of Bossley Architects Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Whether it's seen as a jewel in the crown of the Waitemata Harbour or a multi-million dollar eyesore, the proposal for a waterfront stadium is back in play.

Stadium talk was sparked this week by discussions on whether the city needed to reinvest in Eden Park or start from scratch with a new sporting venue.

Chris Brooks, chief executive of Regional Facilities Auckland and the man responsible for reviving hopes for a waterfront stadium, said there was no money put aside for an Eden Park upgrade and a decision needed to be made.

A new stadium proposal was rejected in 2006 but sports teams and fans are excited at the renewed talk of a multi-use venue close to transport links. Others are wary.

Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman said the price tag on a large capacity stadium could reach $1 billion.

The Weekend Herald asked some well-respected Auckland architects where they thought the new stadium should be.

John Copeland said a waterfront stadium would be empty and lifeless and he wanted to see a multi-use stadium close to a busy commercial hub.

"It is better to build closer to the heart of existing business and leisure activity, and incorporate commercial space into the stadium perimeter as part of the development strategy," Mr Copeland said.

Essential ingredients for a city centre stadium included good transport links and money-making commercial space tucked into the wings of the stadium, he said. The venue should have easy access and a vibrancy even when it was not in use.

"The commercial space provides life and activity even when the stadium is empty and provides a major contribution to funding."

Pete Bossley said he stood by his 2006 design, which placed an alternative design on the water in the Manukau Harbour.

The water-based design had many merits, he said. It was a blank canvas, there was no land purchase necessary, no buildings to be demolished and there would be no neighbouring structures to impact on.

"What should happen is a thorough urban design analysis be done to find the best location," Mr Bossley said.

"It shouldn't be somewhere just because some rugby bosses or politicians think it is a good idea."

New Stadium design by Copeland Associates Architects. Photo / Supplied
New Stadium design by Copeland Associates Architects. Photo / Supplied

Mr Bossley said the futuristic design, which he submitted with Mr Copeland in 2006, would become a landmark on the flightpath as aircraft descended into Auckland.

Dr Dushko Bogunovich, Associate Professor of urban design at Unitec, didn't believe Auckland needed a new stadium but said if it went ahead the waterfront was the best option.

Like a shop displaying its best goods in the window, the picturesque Auckland harbour should showcase its best assets, he said. The southern half of Bledisloe Terminal was the best spot.

"We have the harbour bridge, the port, Kelly Tarlton's, Viaduct Harbour, the Silo Park and Tamaki Drive," Dr Bogunovich said. "In the future, we could also have the proposed 'iconic building' on Wynyard Pt, the final version of the Queens Wharf public space redevelopment, and the stadium."

Dr Bogunovich said in the future the port would shrink in size or move from the central city. That would free up space for the stadium close to Britomart train station, motorway links and the ferry terminal.

He would design a stadium that maximised the waterfront views.

"The stadium should also be an entertainment venue, office building, hospitality cluster and power plant to compensate for unprofitable events and for no-event days," Dr Bogunovich said.

"With such a complex programme, we would have a project that would also be a feat of engineering and one that pays its own bills."

- NZ Herald

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