Elenberg Fraser love Auckland. We have long admired the city and its exports in culture and business and the arts. Almost 20 years ago we published the works of the great Rewi Thompson in Transition magazine, it is powerful work that we have absorbed and never forgotten.
So our response to the Federal Street site is a personal and complex one. In contemporary architecture, landscape is often reduced to view lines and decoration. But we have sought to evacuate the ground plane and to reinstate the traditional forests of the New Zealand Taraire. We see this as a gift to the city, a visceral tactile forest experience with waterfalls and rocks and moss and layered dense vegetation – a real, living forest experience for residents and visitors and public alike. At the heart of the forest is a well, where the rushing water cascades from above and crashes into an underground grotto below. A new people place, to revitalise Federal Street immediately and the precinct at large.
We have proposed a tower that reflects Auckland’s dramatic location atop 48 volcanoes. It starts almost 25 metres above the ground and rises through hotel and apartments to almost 210 metres. The architecture is driven by the desire for each room to have a huge curved glass bay window so that occupants can sit directly into the view lines of the urban geography. Tighter bubbles for the hotel rooms transition into broader bays for the apartments as the deep pewter coloured glass pours like a liquid volcanic surface. At the top of the building sits a destination restaurant dedicated to the provenance of its materials. A cylindrical telescopic lift rises from this floor to the rooftop which holds a spiral format heated ozone pool, steaming in the cool evening air. Poolside lounges allow visitors and residents to sit within the stars of the night sky and intimately consider the cosmos and our collective future.