The Valley and the Tunnel
This project is a critical response to the National Memorial plan, which will trench state highway 1 between the Basin Reserve and Taranaki st, and then cover it with a park to “…increase connection between the Corrillian tower with the planned Memorial Park.”
This project radicalises the concept that to have greater connection, we must bury the car.
Cambridge/Kent Terrace has been chosen as a test site for developing the project as here pedestrian connection across the city is particularly disrupted by traffic flow.
Adjacent car sales yards and servicing stations become opportunities for new typologies of urban development that increase liveability in the center city, intensifying and increasing connection in and with the city.
A continuous native lowland forest, wetland and stream replace the cars. This new native infrastructure connects to the coastal grasses on the waterfront. Birds and insects can journey unencumbered from one end to the other.
A walkway layers above the native infrastructure, connecting buildings and shop fronts directly to the park and each other. This layer is broken into various “parcels” of lawn, urban agriculture, playgrounds (here indicated in pink) and walkway.
The native infrastructure also bursts through this layer, in parts being framed by or framing the walkway. Line of sight across the park is maintained by planting low lying ferns, grasses and reeds, while the Pohutakawa and Kowhai establish a strong canopy so that while the path meanders and intersects these various conditions and parcels, the destination is always clear.
Stairs extend this rich experience down underground, also becoming a gathering space, an arena.
The project takes a stance of cognitive dissonance, where the spaces of pedestrians and automotive transport are both considered in a positive way.
The tunnel is a shrine to the car, encouraging and celebrating the benefits of automotive transportation. The tunnel increases capacity of transportation, and becomes a subterranean spectacle where light streams down from above ground through fibre optic sun collector “lily pads”. The monumental structures NZTA seems to appreciate so much are well represented here, with meandering carriageways that flow together and between each other in convoluted spaghetti junctions. Unlike a fixed rail option for public transport, this design is future proof. It can react to changing technological conditions by maintaining a carriageway suitable for driverless cars. The post tensioned monocoque ring structure of the tunnel can also flex and react to changing geological conditions, like a super slinky.
This creates a rich urban experience, where people can easily connect with nature, the city and each other.
OptionY website: spatialdesign.info/obr/
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