Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Getting Across

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  • Paul Litterick,

    So he's all for the project, but believes you need to get the functional design right.

    Yes, but the functional design is everything. Simpson thinks you can start with a vision, get lots of people to believe in it and then everything will be alright; you really have to see his wacky and ugly PowerPoint show to appreciate his folly. But plans that work start with lots of planning and designing, things that have not happened. I am sure Jasmax spent a very productive lunchbreak on this one, but the fact is they are not bridge builders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Well yes , I suspect that Mainzeal and the Heavy Engineering Research Association now involved will have some say in the technical details to be released, and that before this goes anywhere near a "green light" it will be properly scoped.

    I'm just very wary of "here we go again Auckland" - someone puts up an IDEA for something interesting and before it's even analysed we get "oh this won't work, no no can't do that". Hey if it all just doesn't work then so be it, but for ONCE can this city please give an idea a chance. Especially one that has enough backers to take it out of the "insane dreaming" basket and at least drop it in the "hey, maybe we could do that" one.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Was I the only one who read the post and articles and instantly thought "We can forget the multi-modal crossing, for reasons of 'cost constraints', for as long as Joyce has his fingers on the purse strings"?

    As far as the bridge height goes, my hazy recollection of the datum clearance below the current Harbour Bridge is that it's 37 metres. I'm sure somebody knows for certain, but I can't figure it out from what's available on Google. And given that it's 14 years since I last studied a maritime chart for the area I wouldn't trust my memory. So a replacement structure would need to allow similar levels of clearance, which I don't see would necessitate significantly lesser gradients in order to be useful for non-automotive transport. The bigger issue is shielding non-motorised traffic from the winds.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Simpson thinks you can start with a vision, get lots of people to believe in it and then everything will be alright.
    ...
    I am sure Jasmax spent a very productive lunchbreak on this one, but the fact is they are not bridge builders.

    Did Simpson describe the rushed early history of the initiative during his presentation at Architecture Week?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The cut out they had on the herald story seemed to have the cars on top, and then rail underneath in the middle, and walkway/cycleways underneath on the sides. Which would make sense. Could be mostly enclosed for wind protection and safety, but still allow ventilation and natural light, as well as viewing. Since it's those three that have the gradient problem, they should be on the bottom.

    I'd like to see a nice design which made the bridge like sails. Understand that it has to work technically as well, but it would start to claim Auckland's identity and not look like a blot on the landscape.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Did Simpson describe the rushed early history of the initiative during his presentation at Architecture Week?

    The rush is something he created, with the urgent need to get the plan built by the centenary of ANZAC.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I'd like to see a nice design which made the bridge like sails. Understand that it has to work technically as well, but it would start to claim Auckland's identity and not look like a blot on the landscape.

    I'd like to see a moratorium on structures that look like sails in Auckland, as well as a ban on buildings that look like boats. It is time to grow up.

    Anyhow, how could a bridge look like sails? Bridges are horizontal, sails vertical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    the Vic Park tunnel. If we could get it to dive under the city as soon as possible (presumedly not on Tank Farm but hopefully?)

    Probably too late given that work on the Vic tunnel starts quite soon. I remember something in one Wynyard proposal about the spine park running out along tank farm being perfect for the cityside end of the tunnel even if the phasing didn't match with the surrounding buildings (though I'd imagine their tenants would disagree). You'd construct transport links beneath, with rail veering to join Britomart. Don't remember where road went, but maybe branching off under the park as you suggest.

    Given the cityside connection issues arise whether it's a bridge or tunnel, you can see the frustrations of lack of integrated planning. The dominance of transport funding over urban design also distorts things enormously.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The rush is something he created, with the urgent need to get the plan built by the centenary of ANZAC.

    Paul, I mean the first time around. A few years back.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Anyhow, how could a bridge look like sails? Bridges are horizontal, sails vertical.

    Depends how well you sail. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I'd like to see a moratorium on structures that look like sails in Auckland, as well as a ban on buildings that look like boats. It is time to grow up.

    How about a Badger then?. I can see it now badger badger badger Snaaaaaake badger badger badger
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    How about a Badger then?. I can see it now

    Earworm, eyeworm. Damn you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Two harbour bridges, less than a kilometre apart? Great. I'll be able use them in between watching RWC matches on three different channels.

    Did any of the architects, steel merchants or soldiers backing this ever stop to consider the harbour itself? For the last hundred years Aucklanders have been "reclaiming" (hate that word) land which was never theirs in the first place, reducing the Waitemata to little more than an estuary.

    How on earth would a bridge from Wynyard point free up recreational use of that land? And what about recreational use of the harbour?

    Put bikes, cars and tourist busses on the existing bridge. Put trains, all trucks and more busses down below.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    I'm with Joshua - I don't want to see the existing Auckland Harbour bridge removed - ugly or not it is an icon for Auckland. Even if it does cost a fortune to paint it endlessly...

    As a yachty I'm pretty sure there would be some opposition to a bridge across the harbour between the existing bridge and the CBD as it would wreak havoc with wind and tidal currents. Also if it went anywhere near Westhaven there could be issues.

    I'm also in favour of the motorway extension north - perhaps not as far as Wellsford (at this point) but certainly as far as Warkworth with some serious consideration for how traffic splits towards Omaha/Matakana/Leigh, Warkworth and further north. Think about what similar roads have done for Brisbane opening up the Sunshine and Gold coasts (OK - don't think about all their ugly high-rise buildings on the beaches, we can do without that).

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Rik and Josh are both right. Everyone's always talking about optimising the harbour. But somehow, that always seems to draw short of recreational access to the wet bit of it.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Ow, wouldn't want to think of the bending moment in the slanted pier... Not the most logical approach, no, and likely then to change - expensively - through the engineering design process.

    6) Why get rid of the present bridge? It is not falling down.

    Yet. Metal fatigue.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Why get rid of the present bridge? It is not falling down.

    Yet. Metal fatigue.

    How much difference would it make if the clip-ons could be removed, and automotive traffic routed through a tunnel? Is the gradient on the current bridge within the capabilities of a rail solution?
    Just thinking about ways to utilise the existing structure as part of a fully multi-modal transport solution.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    You'd have to ask a civil engineer, and in this case, a traffic engineer and urban designer as well.

    You do put your finger on a crucial point - much transport design is very narrow-focussed, for example looking at shoving bypasses through without considering either alternatives or the overall urban pattern and habitation - as Prenderghastly did here in Wellington.

    Architects are trained to co-ordinate across disciplines and just putting an engineer in charge of this bridge in the middle of a city (as opposed to the French countryside) without involving good architects with expertise in urban design would be naive at best.

    To be fair to Jasmax (much as it galls me - despite the very nice Whangarei library, I still haven't forgiven those bastards for Te Papa), the bridge is a concept not a finished design and should be taken as such. If built, it would almost certainly end up looking very different.

    Not knowing much about the specifics of Auckland's situation, I probably couldn't say much more.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I suspect the big price that they've put on the land that the bridge is currently on would make that unlikely. Having two routes across the harbour to the city would be a nice luxury to have though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    You do put your finger on a crucial point - much transport design is very narrow-focussed, for example looking at shoving bypasses through without considering either alternatives or the overall urban pattern and habitation - as Prenderghastly did here in Wellington.

    Is this a peculiarly NZ thing, or is it more universal? NZ seems to suffer greatly from a tremendous lack of holistic transport thinking at the political level, as witnessed by the complete shock from many sides that Banks, Brown and Lee are all on the same page about completing the through-line out of Britomart.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    [Sigh] It does seem to be in our national character to choose the most shoddy, philistine possible approach. Double-glazing (lack of), home insulation (lack of), Wellington's motorways... Sometimes we choose absurdly circuitous processes that seem to guarantee disasters - the competition that resulted in Te Papa is a case in point.

    There's a light bulb joke to suit:

    How many English civil servants does it take to change a light bulb?

    Two. On to assure the public that there will be a full commission of enquiry into the light bulb situation and that there will be a strict timetable with measurable targets... and the other to screw the bulb into the faucet.

    Maybe we picked up that culture - and it's pretty prevalent in business too.

    Then again <ramble> , Jack Mitchell, a couple of decades back wrote one of the best books on NZ architecture, The Elegant Shed in which he identified the 'number 8 wire' mentality as a boon - but he did emphasise the Elegant , which seems to get lost... can't say that it's unique, considering what happened to a lot of British cities after WWII... </ramble>

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I should just point out that the British Civil Service, for all the jokes and inadequacies, is in fact a wonder of the world & that most of those full commission etc things are political impositions.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Oh, I'd also like to say that getting Joyce rattled is a splendid benefit of this unexpected political unity on the part of Auckland's leadership. Hell, I even think that Banks makes some very reasonable, supportable statements in the article.

    I'm really hoping that it's Auckland transport that'll be the hammer that knocks the gloss off National's honeymoon, but I'm beyond holding my breath about the electorate's ability to digest and be outraged about any information that doesn't affirm Key's messianic status.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm really hoping that it's Auckland transport that'll be the hammer that knocks the gloss off National's honeymoon

    To mix that metaphor any further I think you'd need some sort of industrial appliance.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm reminded that Mr Haywood posted about Richard Simpson's presentation to a previous Foo Camp. Has pix.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19743 posts Report Reply

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