The Western Ring Route and Waterview Tunnel is a significant step in transforming the way people and freight move around Auckland and New Zealand. It represents the biggest change in travel patterns since the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge in 1959.
The $1.4 billion Waterview Connection project completes Auckland’s Western Ring Route. The project involves almost five kilometres of new motorway including two parallel tunnels, 2.4 kilometres in length, and interchanges to connect to the Southwestern Motorway at Mt Roskill and to the Northwestern Motorway at Great North Road.
Part of the Well-Connected Alliance Team (Comprising NZTA, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Parsons Brinkerhoff NZ, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin and Taylor, Boffa Miskell and Obayashi Corporation), Warren and Mahoney was responsible for the architectural components of the project including the ventilation stacks, egress structures, pedestrian bridges and associated tunnel buildings.
Inspired by the aesthetic forms of Obsidian (volcanic glass) the concept design for the tunnel's ventilation stack focused on creating a faceted slender form of elegance and beauty. Its full sculptural appearance is appreciated on approach from the motorway as the stack’s slanted form extends down to the motorway serving as the portal’s dividing wall and prominent marker.
The notion of extruded boxes shifting in and out of the tunnel express traffic movement through the tunnel, its glazed ends with vertical patterning referencing the striated basalt columns remnant from cooled lava of early volcanic eruptions present across the site.
Construction Photography courtesy of Well-Connected Alliance and Greg Kempthorne Photography. Completed photography by Sam Hartnett.