This is personal project where I have imagined how how a local motorway pedestrian underpass could be repurposed. It is intended to inspire discussion. I live in Mangere Bridge, Auckland. The original bridge that gives the suburb its name is currently being replaced. The old bridge has for many years been slowly sinking into the harbour and the concrete has been disintegrating. The new bridge will be a pedestrian bridge with space for cyclists and room for people to sit and fish. Unlike the old bridge the deck will slope in a gentle arc to allow boats to pass underneath.
The new bridgel. Image from NZTA
The underpass with graffiti
The Manukau Beautification trust painting over the graffiti
The underpass as it is now
This is an open place for people to sit. talk, eat or look at the art works or the view to the harbour. It is also intended to create a sense of civic generosity and manaakitanga. At one end there is a Pātaka Kai. Pātaka Kai is a free open street pantry project in New Zealand. These are pantries where people can leave or take non-perishable food or fruit and vegetables as they want. A pātaka is a traditional Maori storehouse raised off the ground usually sitting on a single post used to store food. This reflects values found in the local community and is meant to be complimentary to other similar nearby projects . Just past the far end of the bridge is Te Puea Marae (which provides support for homeless people throughout Auckland). There are many other similar projects nearby such as Every Eats (a pay as you feel restaurant) in Onehunga and another Pataka Kai in the Mangere bridge village. This pod is at the lower part of the motrway bridge and sits on a forrest of columns visually similar to the nearby wharf at Onehunga. Some of the columns protrude through the floor to provided support fotr the pataka Kai and as base to display art works.
This provides a sort of breakout space where people and move out of the walkway. It features several window seats where people can sit and relax and look at the artworks and view. The idea is that these are interspersed amooungst the art work displyed on the walls. The window seat allows people to become part of the view and in a sense move inside the frame and become part of their own artwork. Briefly the building, the visitors, the surrounding and the artworks merge together.
This is a dark room designed to display short films or be used a temporary storage space or studio for the artists while they are preparing an exhibit. The term zen view comes from the book ‘A pattern Language’ by Christopher Alexander. The book asks how to make the most of a beautiful view. It tells the story of a Buddhist Monk’s house the Mountains. The Monk’s house has a small entry courtyard. In the far wall of the courtyard there is a small diagonal slit cut through the wall. As a person walks across the courtyard at one point where they line up with this slit in the wall, they can see a view with the ocean far in the distance. The idea is that to appreciate a view that the best way is not to create huge windows that make the view like wallpaper. It is better to have a small window in a transitional space that you have walk through. The window should be focused on a part of the view that someone may not notice before. The view is not in a space where you can settle. You must actively move to a certain spot to see it. The act of taking the view away and reframing it renews our appreciation of it. So in the transition space leading to the dark room I have added several small slotted windows that highlight view of the harbour.