Location: Auckland, New Zealand.

Architect: Jasmax, Grimshaw, designTRIBE, Alt Group.

The City Rail Link (CRL) in Auckland, New Zealand, is the country’s largest public art project and will reflect the city’s unique identity as the largest Māori and Polynesian city in the world. The CRL is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken in New Zealand, with two 3.45km-long, twin underground rail tunnels connecting three new stations to a reconfigured downtown transport centre. The design of each new CRL station represents the cleaving apart of earth and sky to bring light and life, with each station comprised of three distinctly articulated masses – ‘Earth’, ‘Sky’, and the ‘Threshold’ between. Each threshold is representative of a Māori deity and inspired by the historic landforms and flora characteristic to each station site. Horotiu Station is located in the heart of the city centre, near the cultural precinct of Aotea Square. The threshold into the station is defined by a suspended canopy made up of hundreds of carved timber rods inspired by raupō stems. Karanga-ā-Hape Station is located on a ridgeline used as a key portage route by Māori, and the primary threshold into this station is inspired by Tanē-mahuta and the revered Kauri tree, endemic to Auckland. Mangawhau Station will create a new junction between CRL transport lines and is conceived as a monumental wall sculpture – a huge slab of intricately carved basalt, which forms the backdrop to a double height water feature. The CRL station design concept draws on the Māori creation story that tells of the emergence of the natural world, Te Ao Marama, from Te Po (darkness), and Te Kore (nothingness). The design is evocative of people and place, legends and history, connecting us to the past, and transporting us to the future. The CRL stations will transform Auckland and reflect the city’s unique identity, creating an authentic and globally recognisable image of the city for the future.

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