A view from the bridge

GRAND SWEEP: Auckland architectural firm Monk Mackenzie’s design for the Turanganui Bridge has earned the 2018 International Architecture Awards’ bridges and infrastructure category award. Picture supplied
BIRD’S EYE VIEW: This image shows the span of the Turanganui Bridge as it curves from the planned Hawaiki (Gateway) sculpture on the Council reserve adjacent to the mouth of the Waikanae Stream, to a point in the river. Picture supplied

Designed to curve over the Turanganui River and end at a point near the former rock Te Toka a Taiau, the bridge that remains a concept has earned its architects a second international award.

Auckland architectural firm Monk Mackenzie won the 2018 International Architecture Awards’ bridges and infrastructure category for their Turanganui Bridge design.

The bridge is designed to culminate in a sleek flight of steps near Te Toka a Taiau where explorer James Cook and a Rongowhakaata man shared a hongi in 1769. Connection between the mainland and Te Toka a Taiau is largely conceptual. The rock on which the meeting, described by Pacific anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond as “a moment of amity amid the chaos of cultural misunderstandings” took place, was blasted in 1877 by the Gisborne Harbour Board to enable harbour expansion.

Te Toka A Taiau was also the mooring site of voyaging waka Te Ikaroa a Rauru.

Tairawhiti Navigations Governance agreed last year that construction of the bridge, poetically coined by one councillor as “the bridge to nowhere”, will not be built in time for the 250th commemorations of that first meeting.

Unbuilt projects are eligible for International Architecture Awards if they were designed after January 1, 2015. But even in its pre-built form there is poetry in the design. The form of the structure is muscular at the base and tapers to a thin section in the apex above the river. Here, the bridge deck widens to act as a meeting place and viewing deck out to sea. The form of the bridge is intuitive, sculptural — as if carved from the landscape, say the architects.

“It uses a sweeping elliptical line, creating a trajectory for the eye to follow, resulting in a dynamic and highly expressive silhouette.

The geometry of the bridge was designed to appear to evolve from the landscape.

“This was designed by creating a bridge alignment and elevation that emerges tangentially from the slipway and ground. The steps and seating areas at the base of the bridge emerge from the ground and slipway as if carved from the landscape and are shaped to naturally anchor the bridge.”

The deck would be built in steel with a graphite or bronzed finish.

Designed to curve over the Turanganui River and end at a point near the former rock Te Toka a Taiau, the bridge that remains a concept has earned its architects a second international award.

Auckland architectural firm Monk Mackenzie won the 2018 International Architecture Awards’ bridges and infrastructure category for their Turanganui Bridge design.

The bridge is designed to culminate in a sleek flight of steps near Te Toka a Taiau where explorer James Cook and a Rongowhakaata man shared a hongi in 1769. Connection between the mainland and Te Toka a Taiau is largely conceptual. The rock on which the meeting, described by Pacific anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond as “a moment of amity amid the chaos of cultural misunderstandings” took place, was blasted in 1877 by the Gisborne Harbour Board to enable harbour expansion.

Te Toka A Taiau was also the mooring site of voyaging waka Te Ikaroa a Rauru.

Tairawhiti Navigations Governance agreed last year that construction of the bridge, poetically coined by one councillor as “the bridge to nowhere”, will not be built in time for the 250th commemorations of that first meeting.

Unbuilt projects are eligible for International Architecture Awards if they were designed after January 1, 2015. But even in its pre-built form there is poetry in the design. The form of the structure is muscular at the base and tapers to a thin section in the apex above the river. Here, the bridge deck widens to act as a meeting place and viewing deck out to sea. The form of the bridge is intuitive, sculptural — as if carved from the landscape, say the architects.

“It uses a sweeping elliptical line, creating a trajectory for the eye to follow, resulting in a dynamic and highly expressive silhouette.

The geometry of the bridge was designed to appear to evolve from the landscape.

“This was designed by creating a bridge alignment and elevation that emerges tangentially from the slipway and ground. The steps and seating areas at the base of the bridge emerge from the ground and slipway as if carved from the landscape and are shaped to naturally anchor the bridge.”

The deck would be built in steel with a graphite or bronzed finish.

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Anne Salmond - 2 months ago
It would be great to see the community refresh its thinking around the Turanganui Bridge. This spectacular, elegant and thoughtful structure has now won two international design awards. Communities that support iconic projects of this kind are richly rewarded, both in the pleasure they gain from having world-class design in their local environment, and the visitors they attract. This structure is poetry in motion, and design of that calibre is a rare opportunity. Fortunately the project was delayed, not dismissed, and the community still has the chance to think again.

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