On August 6 2011, we opened the first stage of the Wynyard Quarter redevelopment to the people of Auckland.
Like any good opening night, the days before had been spent in panicked final details with calls for brushes and shovels to be brought from home, and constant assurance sought that “there will be a slab there where we want to put our stage, won’t there Hilton?”.
But, also like any good opening night, the first day of the new Jellicoe Precinct was amazing. Visitors far exceeded our expectations but the space handled everything with style and aplomb. And a new connection with Auckland’s waterfront was formed.
With a very clear brief to make sure that this new area was one that all Aucklanders could see as being a good addition to their city, and with the knowledge that the space is due to grow and change dramatically over the next 25 years, it occurred to us that the very best way to mark the passage of the years (and have balloons) is to celebrate one’s birthday. And, given its potential for when it is properly grown up, throwing an annual party seemed like a jolly good idea. So, to this end, the Wynyard Quarter Birthday was dreamed up, by a very clever team of creatives who love the space.
At this stage, given that we are Three Whole Years Old, we think it is right to make sure that we are enjoying our ability to walk, throwing around our new found capacity for vocabulary, and making sure that we do important stuff like throwing things, jumping, climbing.
If you are maybe a bit bigger than three, then perhaps consider the number three and it’s relevance to architecture, life, the Universe and everything. We have been.
From our opening back in 2011, the quotes of the day (for me anyway) came from Don McGlashan, who said “It’s like I have been asleep for ten years and when I woke up, Auckland was the city I had always dreamed it could be”. And secondly, from a young man of about 5 who, riding his scooter across Te Wero Island was heard to say “This is a safe place Mummy, a safe place”.
These two thoughts really do sum up what we are hoping we will achieve in this new, aspirational space. A sense of what our city can be if we work together to create well designed, well connected and well-loved places, but also the very basic impact that such places can have on all of us as Aucklanders.
So come and say Happy Birthday, see what has changed, learn about what might happen next, and enjoy being a part of this wonderful city.
FRITH WALKER, Manager Place Making.
Frith Walker is Manager Place Making for Panuku Development Auckland, creating a space that continues to surprise and delight - we like to call her "the keeper of the vibe".
This was originally posted on www.waterfront.co.nz