Nelson Street Off Ramp - Matter Architects | ArchiPro

Nelson Street Off Ramp

Auckland Cycleways - Master Planning and Urban Design

Over many years we pursued several parties with the idea of working together to make Auckland a more user friendly place for its inhabitants.

A particular area of interest of ours was the old nelson street off-ramp and the reuse of this existing asset. Previously we released a document we named ‘missing link’ and volunteered our services for the ‘cmj’ master plan based around creating spaces for both pedestrians and cyclists throughout our city. During this time we met with members of Bike Auckland, Auckland Council, and the NZTA.

Considering the above, when NZTA gave us the opportunity to use the off-ramp as a canvas on which to create an art installation we jumped at it. Urbis design day provided the forum through which the public would see the art piece, and also enabled us to collaborate with the lovely people at Resene. So the question became how to engage with the public on an 800 meter stretch of abandoned concrete, suspended above and below their heads, in clear view but forgotten…

Many nights brainstorming and community questioning began this process… After many safety meetings with the NZTA we decided the most achievable scenario would be a subtle yet engaging political statement based on the future possibilities that may one day manifest on the motorway. This idea materialized into a huge amount of work… we wished to create a visual statement based around five moments, describing the evolution of transport from early hominid to the bicycle. These five pieces would be surrounded by 365 stylized bikes identifying every day of each year that the off-ramp is not used to its full potential.


Luckily at the time we were teaching a spatial design studio at AUT, and thankfully had many enthusiastic helpers to cut and paint the bikes, as well as being able to use the majority of one of the floor levels…so in the wee hours of a couple of weeks we made ready the components for the ramp and it was onto the installation process. Installing the bikes was like being in an 80’s rock band. We all had fluro high vis vests on and were surrounded by heavy metal and speed. The views and energy provided by the off-ramp space was magic.

The entire art piece was in place for several hours only, vanishing in the evening of its second day. Our work was not in vain, and soon enough NZTA and Bike Auckland took the idea and ran with it with their own team. Today a cycleway exists, not the multi purpose park like space we had envisioned, but great to see it there.


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