The new 15m-deep 300m long underground mid-town station near Wellesley and Victoria Streets is expected to be New Zealand's busiest train station. It is also future-proofed for a possible future North Shore rail line.
Aotea Station - the interim name - will have entrances on Victoria Street and Wellesley Street. It is near to the Aotea Centre with the Auckland Town Hall, Q Theatre, Civic Theatre, SKYCITY, the Auckland Art Gallery and Central Library also close by for those coming into the city for a night out.
We start our journey at the Wellesley Street entrance.
This is just up from the Civic Theatre and Bledisloe Building and in a space where the Griffiths Buildings stood for 80 years on the corner of Wellesley Street and Mayoral Drive. In recent years, the building housed a wine shop. It's presently a public space and garden funded by the City Centre Targeted Rate as part of its efforts to retain the vibrancy of the city centre during major capital works.
Check out the ceiling
At the Wellesley Street entrance of the Aotea station, you can catch sight of hundreds of rods suspended from the ceiling creating a dappled lighting effect that mimics water and creates a ripple effect as commuters pass underneath. The rods represent the stems of flax plants when made into piupiu (cultural skirts).
The station is underground but notice how light it feels.
Within Aotea station, seven skylights will represent the seven stars of the Matariki constellation.
It brings beams of light from the heavens into the darkness of the underground concourse and platform areas. The internal station walls are not only efficient structural elements but have been modelled on Maori woven patterns. The acoustic panels lining the station walls reflect a similar pattern.
There will be a building above the station
As with the Mercury Lane station, there is the potential for a building above the station entrance. Land resource consent has been secured for a 41,000sqm office tower above the station.
In fact there could be two commercial towers; one directly above the station box; and another to the south.
So the station entrance could look like this.
A new deal for pedestrians
Alongside the Civic building in Wellesley Street is the existing Bledisloe Lane which contains the Bledisloe office building built in 1959 as an early high rise in Australasia and originally used by government departments. It is now occupied by Auckland Council staff.
The concept of the office towers means:
A wide laneway (similar to Elliott Street) with retail between the Bledisloe Building and the proposed towers would provide a strong pedestrian link from Wellesley Street and the station to Aotea Centre and the theatre district.
A cross site link which separates the two towers, would provide another pedestrian link to improve connectivity from Mayoral Drive to the Laneway and Aotea Square.
You can catch a glimpse of this new pedestrian link in the video.
There are also entrances at Victoria Street
The platforms will run under Albert Street from Wellesley to Victoria Streets with other entrances located on the eastern and western sides of Albert Street where it intersects with Victoria Street.
During your journey you'll travel the length of the station towards the Victoria Street corner (presently where the bungy site is) and you'll also see the proximity of entrances to the SKYCITY tower.
The street station entrances you'll see in Victoria Street means you will be able to exit the trains at Victoria St or enter the station from near SKYCITY or where the bungy site is.
You'll also notice the new look of Victoria Street itself with wider footpaths and cycle lanes.
Where the station is located
Before watching the video, it may help to get your bearings on the area to see exactly where the station entrances will be.