City Rail Link

City Rail Link station design


The urban design concept for the City Rail Link represents the very distinct way of living and constructing within the ever-changing New Zealand environment.

The key design principles are: function, performance and personality within an overarching principle of ecology.

The station designs provide safe, functional and clear transport solutions.

Each station has an even balance between functional design requirements, sustainability, engineering demands, performance objectives and cost, while reflecting the local culture, context and future city aspirations.

Embedded in these is a holistic approach to the ecology and wider cultural landscape to ensure long-term social, cultural, heritage and environmental sustainability.

  • Each station is designed with a unique ‘personality’ – an identity developed from entrances through to platforms

  • Ecology is embedded into the design process to achieve integrated, cost-effective and innovative solutions in order to create healthy, diverse and restorative environments

  • The identity and integration of the stations into their local precincts will reinforce both their existing identities and a more pedestrian-focused future in line with the City Rail Link intentions and the objectives of the Auckland Plan and Auckland City Centre Masterplan

  • The principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) have been incorporated, as well as the optimisation of performance in terms of cost, maintenance and safety.

Video Icon

Video: Our approach for each CRL station


Our design philosophy

Read our booklet outlining our design philosophy and how we are applying it to each station


  • To read this full screen, press on the square symbol in the bottom right

  • The document will open in a new tab. Press the escape key to return to this page.

  • To download, when you view full screen, depending on your browser, there is an arrow at the top left of the screen - click on that.

Note: All of the underground stations have been modelled in 3 dimensions in REVIT software and the alignment in 3 dimensions on MX. While the Level of Detail (LOD) is relatively low at present (LOD200) it is the intention for the BIM models to be developed to a higher level of detail through the detailed design and construction process and eventually transferred to AT's Asset Management department for future use.

Cultural Influences Design Philosophy

The City Rail Links’ design partnership with Mana Whenua has resulted in the incorporation of many cultural references in the architectural expression narratives all the stations.

The Maori creation story has influenced the CRL station entrances, each telling the story of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatuanuku, the earth mother. Their close embrace was separated by their son, Tane Mahuta, who in pushing them apart to bring light (Te Whaiao) into the world and, the state of creation into being (Te Ao Marama).

Each station entrance emphasises, through the architecture and materials, the relationship between solid earth on the ground and the sky above the entrance. The entrances express the deity identified for each location representing the unique identity of the station.

The philosophy of Te Whaia (the light) continues to be expressed through the tunnel vents and other elements on the surface outside the station entrances.  Cultural references are also represented throughout the internal public spaces.

At the Wellesley Street entrance of the Aotea station, hundreds of rods suspended from the ceiling are proposed, 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).

ROOF: This shows the rods suspended from the ceiling

ROOF: This shows the rods suspended from the ceiling

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.

UPPER: Showing the skylights on the upper level

UPPER: Showing the skylights on the upper level

At Karangahape station, the Mercury Lane entrance evokes the branching arms of the vast spreading canopies of Kauri trees, radiating out from massive trunks.

The entrance provides a dramatic sense of relief via a series of large climbing patterns that are revealed as commuters pass through the space towards the entrance. The overall experience is one of rising from, and descent into, the earth. It is proposed that light and sound will be used to enhance the experience of the entrance space.

As commuters travel through the station to the platforms at Karangahape station, the experience is intended to be just as exciting as the entrance experience.

The design proposes the use of modular lining panels that offer dramatic relief in their form, acoustic absorption by their pattern, and the incorporation of subtle colour differences that reflect the geotechnical layers of the earth as people descend to platform level.

At Mt Eden station, the cultural design will extend from the forecourt, through the station and across the new connecting bridge between the CRL and North Auckland Line platforms.

BRIDGE: The bridge from the CRL line to Western Line at Mt Eden station

BRIDGE: The bridge from the CRL line to Western Line at Mt Eden station

WALL: The basalt climbing wall at Mt Eden station

WALL: The basalt climbing wall at Mt Eden station

Basalt stone cladding will be used from floor to ceiling to represent the Mt Eden cone and crater and the pa terraces, with similar designs on the paved area. It is also proposed to create a water feature using water from the nearby reopened natural spring.

^ back to top

Latest concept designs and fly-throughs for each station