Like most working urban waterfronts, Auckland’s North Wharf Promenade was an undistinguished mix of maritime sheds, parking and large areas of asphalt, with few features that would make it an attractive destination for locals and tourists. However, in recent years, redevelopment of the entire Auckland waterfront has gradually brought new uses to the area – marinas, an event centre, restaurants, bars and so on.
TCL/WA, in their design for the promenade (the first stage of a bigger renewal project), have successfully managed the task of retaining the essential “grungy” qualities of the working waterfront while at the same time introducing more pedestrian-friendly spaces and treatments with limited contemporary interventions. North Wharf is now a hugely popular place not just for eating and drinking but also for community events. It will set the framework for the continuing redevelopment of the waterfront and, as with much successful urban design, its beauty lies in its simplicity. The designers are to be congratulated.