A strong axis between ferry building, village and the volcanic dome of Mount Victoria Takarunga is the organising principle at Devonport, however it is history and identity, connecting infrastructure and placing people first that ensures on-going success.
Devonport occupies a strategic location at the entrance to the inner Waitematā Harbour – its volcanic cones were hilltop pā long before the Royal Navy established its first barracks – but as a suburb, it retains a relaxed, village-like feel.
However, without improvements for a number of years, the currency and vibrancy of the township had been undermined. The wharf-to-town connection, in particular was compromised, and the redevelopment of the wharf and improved connections to Victoria Road, the main street, had been scheduled for a long time.
Historically, Marine Square had been a significant landing point for iwi, and ferries today continue the ebb and flow of arrival and departure. The ferry terminal presents at an angle to the city, forming a wedge that is framed by the beginning of the promenade. This strong lineal device expresses the significance of the ongoing transition between land and sea, but to reinforce the concept in a more literal way, a sculptural anchor stone is built into a key point of the pathway, a fulcrum for the space.
To further strengthen the relationship between Marine Square and the village, a strong organising gesture was required. A custom-designed timber balustrade now forms a thick edge to the walkway. Subtly, this timber device keys into the essence of marine architecture, the tactility of the joinery, and the ability to wear and weather well in its wet, salty environment.
The direct new path between town and terminal responds clearly to the needs of ferry users. As pedestrians enter the terminal from the east, the wedge of boardwalk creates an eddy space that is strongly connected with the building. The nearby square has been calmed, with a shared space placing pedestrians at the top of the transport hierarchy. The overall success of this space was achieved through attention to the detail of the low-key surface materials. And, overall, by removing decades worth of urban and transport clutter around the wharf and ferry terminal, and by contributing a new infrastructure that floats above the sparkling waters of the Waitematā, a meaningful and purposeful connection between the wharf and township has been established.
David Irwin, Andrew Mirams, Alan England, Matt Jones, Travis McGee,
Evan Williams, Danbi Park, George Woolford, Grace He, Karen Ehlers
Jasmax (ferry terminal building)
Sills van Bohemen (public realm)
Tonkin & Taylor
Traffic Design Group