From the Daily Scot:


Looking back on my seven years living in Auckland, there was one specific moment residents and visitors alike took notice that the City of Sails was serious about providing world class civic spaces and amenities. That moment was the opening of Wynyard Quarter.
Sure we had access to the waterfront through Prince’s Wharf and The Viaduct (developed for the 2000 America’s Cup) but this new linear waterfront space expanded our imagination, accommodating and celebrating working industry and the site’s gritty past.
Before Shipping Containers


Wynyard Quarter’s programming and placemaking is superb: used-book libraries inside shipping containers, playgrounds, interactive water features, restaurants, giant steps cascading into the ocean tempting a toe dip, and the event node that is Silo Park. 
 Concrete Steps


In addition to constantly evolving placemaking by a dedicated team, what set this development apart from similar projects I have visited are the vernacular of the architecture/landscape materials and the preservation of existing industrial site features against new refined material palettes.  And the use of colour!
Palet Wall


Alan Gray, Senior Urban Designer for Panuku Development Auckland, refers to this juxtaposition as “Friction.”  Beautifully illustrating this friction and, hands down, my favourite space along the waterfront, Silo Park comprises six former concrete silos preserved to recall the site’s past while re-purposing the infrastructure to house events ranging from art installations to providing a backdrop for outdoor movies.



Fridays during the summer months meant heading to Silo Cinema for classic films like Goonies and Ghostbusters, family-friendly flicks viewed from the lawn surrounded by food trucks and a shipping container serving beer and wine.   Because it’s now a victim of its own success, grabbing a spot means showing up a few hours early with blankets in hand to stake your claim amongst fellow moviegoers.


Wynyard Quarter has many components.  Spreading south from Silo Park, filling in the adjacent blocks, is a future comprehensive mixed-use development.  Here, business headquarters, hotels, apartments and linear parks are taking shape after years of master-planning and staging.  Think Vancouver’s Olympic Village with the added commercial and lodging component.
Check out the two informative videos on the Wynyard Quarter website which highlight its transition from scruffy light-industrial area to amenity-rich mixed-use precinct.





  1. This is a fascinating mixed use waterfront development, the kind Vancouver has experienced. Shades of Olympic Village, Lonsdale Quay and Granville island. I think the land devoted to parks and landscaped pedestrian ways is a generous, positive gesture that captures the real value of non-vehicular public space. I know the petroleum tanks have gotta go, but I wonder if there is more opportunity to repurpose other industrial buildings and structures for new uses, or to leave as artefacts of the bygone industrial age. Cleaning up industrial sites doesn’t necessarily mean the new should be sterile.

  2. Wynyard certainly got it right. It’s one of the most successful larger-scale urban redesign jobs I’ve ever seen. And it’s all the more impressive because the Quarter was very much designed by committee.

  3. I’d also classify it as more successful than Olympic Village; as it’s got a better mix of active and passive recreation amidst the new retail and mixed use. It’s also more sustainable – in the maintenance sense. More concrete, fewer pavers to be replaced every four years.

  4. Actually, there is a reason London paved its pedestrian spaces and sidewalks with ubiquitous ~450x 600 mm concrete pavers. They flex with polymeric sand jointing rather than crack as cast concrete panels do. They are thick and they last a long time, arguably longer than large panels, and are therefore less GHG intensive. They are larger and thus less labour intensive to install than smaller unit pavers. They are factory made in great quantities and cheap and can be lifted and re-lain time and again when repairs are made to underground services. They can be laid in running patterns which adds texture to an otherwise bland surface. They can be tinted, but that is not always successful when it’s trying to imitate another material, like brick or stone (stay away from dog biscuit red and imitation cobble patterns).
    A very versatile ordinary everyday product.

  5. An interesting development. I wondered how parking policy may have helped them remove the dead spaces. After doing a little research, there seems to be a maximum parking policy (one space per 200 sqm of gross floor area). Do you know if that is true? Do you have any thoughts on this aspect?

  6. Yep, Wynyard Quarter, like the entire Auckland City Centre, and unlike Vancouver, is on parking maximums (no minimum). IIRC, the Wynyard Quarter maximum is 1 to 150 square metres GFA. As per worker office space shrinks, this equals a maximum of one space per 13 or so workers. All parking must be underground. plus there’s a cap of around 300 on-street parking spaces. The few remaining surface parking lots are all development sites and will soon disappear in Auckland’s very hot office market. The plan change for Wynyard Quarter has strict car trip generation caps which requires a 70% non-car driver mode share at peak times to succeed. It’s interesting to note that top NZ corporate HQs – such as Vodafone, Air New Zealand, ASB Bank and Fonterra – are either in or will be in the quarter even with severely constrained parking. There is an intense travel demand management focus with businesses with businesses themselves owning this process through a business-led Transportation Management Association.

  7. Wow, awesome stuff!!. I read this and before I left work today and then walked home thru Olympic Village. really points out how bland, conservative and boring a city we are. Olympic Village is grey upon grey upon Grey. Grey Granite, grey pavers, grey metal trellis, silver bridge. BORING. No reference to the old industry other than the Salt building. What about the sawmill legacy? Oh and those giant dock cleets are so cheesy and cliche. I’m moving to Auckland where the city and design community has some imagination.

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