The eight finalists, selected from 237 entries, have been asked to develop their ideas according to more detailed guidelines from the government and the ARC. These emphasise the need for awareness of the site and its scale, both above and below the water’s surface. They also expand on the requirements for the envisaged public space which must be creative, inviting and versatile with sufficient access for vehicles and pedestrians.
The concepts put forward by the finalists differ in their inspiration. Andrius Gedgudas, who is based in Shanghai, China and is the only finalist from outside Auckland, was praised for his 'simple and strong' scheme, which the judging panel believe would prove extremely adaptable over time. David Gibbs and Aaron Sills of Construkt/SVB, whose design currently includes an 'urban beach', also received positive comments on their versatile approach.
The judges were impressed with the finalists’ treatment of the existing site. Den Aitken, Pete Griffiths and Hamish Foote of Field Landscape Architecture based their proposal on the historic layout of the original wharf to retain a sense of the harbour’s identity. John Coop of Tasman Studio also focussed on interaction with new and existing buildings, which the panel believed captured the 'scale and drama' of the site. Simon Williams of Williams Architects Ltd was praised for his concept’s engagement with the harbour, which features bold, sculptural forms in the passenger terminal to compliment the landscape and existing architecture.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key believes the redevelopment will be 'for the benefit of Aucklanders and all New Zealanders'. An Open Access day was held in September and public comments and suggestions can be submitted to the project’s website until 25th October. The winner will be announced in mid-November.