Q&A with Andrew Barclay, Warren & Mahoney

What’s your favourite project in the world?

It’s very hard to single one out, but the Eiffel Tower passes all of the tests that can be applied to greatness. The building has been a successful ambassador for France for 130 years and is the most visited man-made structure in the world. The Eiffel Tower is timelessly elegant, a pure expression of architectural and structural innovation and is now synonymous with the identity of Paris.

It's most important contribution has been to assure designers that it is possible to capture beauty and cultural identity in a durable way that is universally recognised.

Although the ICD Federal Street project has different drivers and occupies a very different place in history, we believe that the project has the potential to speak directly about Auckland’s place in the world.

What excites you about ICD’s Federal St project?

The ICD Federal Street project presents an opportunity to achieve two key objectives that have so far not been resolved within the hotel-residential typology in Auckland. The project will be positioned in one of Auckland’s most exciting locations at the epicentre of the city’s hospitality and entertainment precinct. This means that the project has the potential – and the responsibility – to contribute to Auckland’s increasingly vibrant inner-city life by day and by night. The brief encourages an innovative approach to connecting with immediate context, the wider city, its visitors and its citizens.

Secondly, the time is right for projects within the central city to speak directly about Auckland’s unique people, culture and geography. The scale of the ICD Federal Street project means that identity can be expressed both at the ground plane and at the skyline. The stories, metaphors and symbols of New Zealand’s mana whenua provide a completely unique foundation for design to capture the dignity and enduring value of embedded culture.

What do you think is the most exciting thing in store for Auckland’s future? 

Auckland is evolving very quickly into a global world city that can legitimately claim to be the Capital of the Pacific. Within the next few years a range of major projects will be completed that will provide new facilities for visitors and citizens to mix in one of the world’s great harbour cities.
Auckland is increasingly recognised both as the gateway to New Zealand and as one of the most liveable cities in the world.

This evolution takes place against a global backdrop that is increasingly tense, both politically and economically. New Zealand’s primary global advantage is it’s ‘agile diversity’ – it’s continued commitment to resolve differences, to recognise the value of cultural heritage and to stand firm as a place of independence and freedom.

The most exciting thing in store for Auckland is therefore this: that the world will increasingly recognise its value as not only a beautiful city – but also one that expresses its identity as a vibrant, diverse and open urban hub in the South Pacific.

See the Warren and Mahoney design entry

Bobby Kennedy