King's ransom for Queens Wharf

By Bernard Orsman

The redesigned facility, one of four options under consideration for Queens Wharf, would provide a cruise-ship terminal and multi-purpose public space.
The redesigned facility, one of four options under consideration for Queens Wharf, would provide a cruise-ship terminal and multi-purpose public space.

The Government's $100 million proposal for Queens Wharf is dominated by a "long house" that will serve as a cruise-ship terminal and multi-purpose public space.

The Herald has obtained images of the proposal to revamp the central Auckland wharf for a tourist-liner terminal and "party central" venue for the Rugby World Cup 2011.

The $100 million revamp - a fine-tuned version of last year's contest-winning design by architects Jasmax and Architectus - is one of four options for Queens Wharf.

It is unclear what the others are, although Prime Minister John Key said last month that a short-term development for the cup could cost $15 million to $20 million.

The $100 million revamp, shown to the region's mayors last week, removes the two 1912 cargo sheds and divides the wharf in two.

The eastern side is dominated by the "long house", a building with four layers.

The first is at the wharf level, with cruise-ship facilities and active edges, such as cafes.

The second layer is a promenade providing public access to the third layer, the long house, a multi-function hall.

The fourth layer is a distinctive angled roof. The hall remains partially open to the elements.

The dominant nature of the long house leaves little room for a major public building in future.

The western side of the wharf is public open space beyond the existing ferry terminal, with large grassed spaces at either end, seating and a central walkway.

The end of the wharf is marked by a wide set of steps leading down to the water's edge.

The concept has won the support of three of the four big-city mayors and Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee.

But Auckland City Mayor John Banks says a decision on the wharf should not be rushed before the Super City is in place and a masterplan is developed for the waterfront.

Mr Banks wants a $10 million spruce-up of the wharf for next year's rugby tournament.

Mr Lee, who denounced the previous final eight designs as "lacklustre, underwhelming and mediocre", yesterday said the latest design options had considerable potential to match the superb location.

He reiterated the need for a decent terminal on Queens Wharf to capitalise on the growing cruise-ship industry, worth $117 million in the 2007-2008 season and climbing.

A spokesman for Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully said the four options for Queens Wharf formed part of a consultation process.

It was possible all the options could be publicly released, but no date had been set.

- NZ Herald

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