Auckland Airport is undergoing a major transformation. While this involves new consideration of terminals & infrastructure, it also considers the creation of an urban environment in the surrounding landholding – a move away from large warehouse based logistics companies to commercial & retail opportunities & the streetscapes and open spaces for the people working here.
Te Kaitaika ‘The Cloak’ has been established in the heart of this growing district. Auckland International Airport sought to create a sculptural built form sited on the corner of two of these recently upgraded streets, one heavily traffic based & one focussed on the pedestrian. The functional brief was simple - a flexible space for hosting events, meetings & introducing the strategy & opportunities behind the developing precinct.
Beyond these functional requirements, the brief was aspirational - the architecture should demonstrate opportunities for innovative design & sustainable operation.
Our response positioned a structure to address the street, configured to engage & shelter the pedestrian & shaped to act as a counterpoint to its larger multistory neighbors. The architecture used the freedom of it’s scale to explore sculptural & structural directions & brings together rich layering of material, texture & form to express cultural & national values.
Internal & external components have been based on a simple two part plan - the southern portion on an open flexible space for display & public engagement, while the northern end focused on privacy & enclosure.
The contoured living green roof is established over a shaped engineered timber frame, this shape providing the shoulders from which an encircling & distinctive woven mesh screen forms Te Kaitaka - The Cloak. The Cloak collects the elements of the architecture together. The cloak is parted to define the entry & address the street. It presents a shoulder to the corner traffic & is open to pedestrians travelling beneath the protected eaves.
The architecture is a combination of readily available construction approaches, layered with a degree of craft & legible materiality to showcase New Zealand sustainable design, materials, & innovation.