Yesterday SkyCity released some new details and new images of the approved concept design for the controversial New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC). The new details are in the form of a new 300 bed hotel along with a new pedestrian laneway between Hobson St and Nelson St but first details about the convention centre itself.
“The design includes flexible, innovative convention and exhibition space. Spread over four levels the facility will contain a public atrium entrance, multiple day meeting rooms and a dedicated multi-use plenary theatre able to accommodate 3,000 people for convention and entertainment events. The exhibition floor will be the size of Eden Park’s rugby pitch with a 9 metre high stud and the ability to accommodate two Dreamliner 787
aeroplanes side by side,” says Mr Jamieson.
“In addition, the master plan for the Hobson Nelson Street site will also include a 300 room 5 star hotel and pedestrian laneway both of which will benefit from the increased visitation generated by the NZICC.”
“The success factor of a convention centre is its integration into the city fabric and its ability to deliver an authentic experience for the visitor. The NZICC concept has been developed so the building plays a role in a living, breathing precinct that Aucklanders will be encouraged to use and enjoy. The design of a large plaza entry off Hobson Street, leading to a through site laneway, will provide social, retail and hospitality experiences
for Aucklanders and visitors alike. With the laneway, hotel and plaza, the NZICC will have a significant differentiated offering for the international business events market.”
The NZICC will enhance the rejuvenation of the western edge of the CBD and will provide a catalyst for further visitor and entertainment development in Victoria Quarter and SKYCITY’s Federal Street. Auckland businesses of all sizes will benefit from increased high-value visitation. It will reinforce Auckland’s reputation as a leading, vibrant, international city.
With a total gross floor area (GFA) of 85,000 m2, the NZICC is understood to be the biggest building project undertaken in Auckland since 1997 when the Sky Tower was constructed.
A couple of things you can see from this angle.
- The building is huge and boxy – but that’s not exactly a surprise.
- There’s a huge vehicle entrance of Nelson St, I wonder how that will work with the proposed cycleway which will be on that side.
- That laneway looks long, straight and boring, especially as it appears like it will be next to a very high and imposing wall.
- They are keeping the facade of the building on the corner of Nelson St and Wellesley St
- No sign of the Victoria St Linear Park in the image which would see much less traffic on Victoria St (can kind of forgive the artist for that one though.
What they don’t say in the press release is about how many carparks there will be. In earlier documents they say the Government would require the centre to have 900 spaces, way more than the 280 that would be the maximum under the parking requirements for the CBD (down to 200 in the Unitary Plan).
Included in that press release was this image of what I assume is part of the laneway and which looks dull and uninviting, especially with that massive blank wall.
And detail on the hotel and laneway.
The hotel will be 5 star accommodation offering 300 beds, bringing the total number of beds available within the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct to nearly 1000. It will be linked by an air bridge to the rest of the SKYCITY, enabling guests to enjoy the best in New Zealand dining, bars, entertainment and the unique Sky Tower experience within a short, covered walk from their hotel room.
“We are also creating a pedestrian laneway adjacent to the new SKYCITY hotel,” Mr Morrison says. “This laneway will be a contemporary version of the historic Vulcan Lane with bars, restaurants and boutique shopping at street level. It will provide a pedestrian walkway linking Hobson and Nelson Streets for Aucklanders and visitors to use and enjoy.”
Design of the hotel and laneway is a collaboration between Warren and Mahoney and Moller Architects. Principal and Executive Director of Warren and Mahoney, John Coop, says we are designing a diverse and exciting place for tourists to visit and for the local community to use.
“The new SKYCITY hotel is a landmark opportunity to create a truly international modern hotel within central city. In Auckland, most of our current four and five star hotels are from a previous era; they are constructed of very solid brick masonry or concrete, and while they may have been successfully upgraded, still reflect the past. With a completely new build hotel, we have an opportunity to use modern technologies and contemporary design and planning methods in the room and fixture design. In a beautifully integrated project, we will create lightness in the way the space feels and capitalise on beautiful
views towards the harbour and urban landscape.”
That laneway with its blank walls, stairs and dark colours will be nothing like a contemporary Vulcan Lane. It also ignores that laneways need to be inviting and useful as both a destination but more importantly lead somewhere interesting. In the case of Vulcan Lane it links O’Connell St, High St and Queen St together and has huge pedestrian volumes. This laneway will link the largely dead Nelson St traffic sewer with the only slightly less dead Hobson St traffic sewer. Even if someone was walking east-west across the city I fail to see why they would detour to use this lane which would then require them to walk back to Victoria/Nelson St’s or use the airbridge and have to walk through the casino. Particularly on Victoria most people would likely just stick to the linear park once that’s built. Here’s an image from the Hobson St side also showing the hotel and two airbridges.
And here’s an image looking south from the vehicle entrance to the bus terminal, a place where there currently isn’t even a footpath unlike what’s shown. Again you can see that airbridge which is designed to try and keep people firmly within the walls of SkyCity’s property
Overall the whole thing seems bland and unimpressive, much like the justification for the project in the first place.