Bledisloe Lane Upgrade


  • Auckland CBD public-space renewal
  • Micro-programmed streetscape and utilities upgrade
  • Value $6m

The busy CBD connector lane between Auckland’s 1929 Civic Theatre and the 1957 modernist Bledisloe Building needed to be completely redeveloped in time for the completion of Auckland Council’s workplace strategy and the opening of council’s new Customer Service Centre. Key objectives were to provide the lane with a personality and identity sympathetic to its surroundings and a clever transition between Aotea Square and Elliot Street, achieve effective weather protection for ever-increasing numbers of pedestrians using the lane, deliver a high-quality environment safe from crime especially for night-time use, and to create an attractive pocket park on a steeply sloping site.

Resource and building consents were obtained within a tight timeframe despite considerable controversy around the partial-canopy design: influential parties felt the canopy should extend over the entire lane, and there were others who demanded un-covered open space. The design considers the effects of future upgrades to Wellesley Street and the central rail link’s Aotea Station on Albert Street.

Construction was undertaken while neighbouring buildings were occupied and pedestrian access through the lane was maintained throughout. The project team worked closely with local businesses to ensure full operational continuity and a safe environment for staff and members of the public.

A frameless glass façade was introduced to activate the ground floor of Bledisloe House and provide lane-way backlighting at night. Pavement and canopy designs visually ‘stretch’ the lane and accentuate its straightness and enclosure between relatively tall buildings. The pocket park was modelled on small, flat planes for usability and visual interest, and an opening was formed in a building shear wall to connect the park to a food & beverage tenancy. Ground floor tenancies were re-modelled within the expanded building footprint, together with compliance upgrades. A substantial sculpture underwent off-site restoration during pocket-park construction.

The project represents progressive thinking in architectural, engineering, urban and sustainable design and was delivered within a particularly demanding timeframe and on-budget.

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