Architects Denton Corker Marshall, working in collaboration with engineers Hyder Consulting and Kenneth Grubb Associates, have won the international design competition for the Te Wero Bridge in Auckland, New Zealand.
View here their submission
Recently I made an e-mail interview with Neil Bourne, the Director of Denton Corker Marshall, which goes as follows:
1. You have been influenced by?
Neil Bourne: "
The impact of all infrastructure on communities is high, so it should be well considered.
Bridges are commonly seen as ‘icon opportunities’ but as with all types of engineering works, they often seem to escape careful aesthetic design consideration.
It is not about superficial cosmetic treatment, but rather more deeply embedded issues such as the need to take a holistic
approach when considering infrastructure – the obvious social environmental impact is well understood and debated but more
subtle characteristics including forms, alignments, materials, colours, textures, detailing, lighting, landscape, signage and the
many interfaces between each engineering discipline often causes dysfunctions or slip-ups that can, and should be, avoided.
Ultimately outcomes should seem ‘natural’ and well considered – a characteristic of all good design."
2. What are the main determinants in the design process for you?
Neil Bourne: "Much as above.
Obviously functional requirements and cost are important, but in working with our engineering colleagues, Hyder, we
canvassed what was, in their opinion, the most ‘practical’ approach to a bascule bridge in this location and context. This purely
engineering consideration became the base from which the concept subsequently developed."
3. What made you come up with the concept of "Te Wero Bridge"?
Neil Bourne: "From the main determinants, the concept developed from the requirement of the brief that the bridge should be a landmark in its
context. Nothing that a bascule bridge in the ‘down’ position (ie the condition that it would be in for most of the time) has very
little presence, some sort of response that had permanent ‘landmark’ qualities was required. This landmark objective had to
have, in our view, some structural or functional relevance. The idea of a tower as part of a draw bridge mechanism that would
supplement the hydraulics in a conventional bascule solution was very appealing. The final engineered solution is a very
elegant balancing of the structural loads with the mechanical system that drives the working of the bridge leaves.
The horizontal angling of the hinging of the bridge leaves, to create the divergence as they are raised, was another element that
contributed to the landmark character.
5. Any maxim you'd like to leave for our readers?
Neil Bourne: "Don’t ever give up!
Good design is an important objective in all endeavours. Good design is not a luxury that cannot be afforded – it should be
regarded as essential."