This project celebrates the exact point of the first contact between British explorer Captain James Cook and New Zealand Maori in 1769.
The project is situated in Gisborne (Turanga-nui-a-Kiwa) and is located in the Turanganui River on a rock known as Te Toka a Taiau/Taiao. It is the site of the mooring of voyaging waka Te Ikaroa a Rauru and the site of the first interaction between Maori and European.
The concept of the bridge is about connection. The aim is to create intimate connections between people, culture, land, sea and sky.
It is embodied in the form through two entities that emerge from the landscape, meeting at a delicate apex above the river. The form is muscular at the base, tapering to a thin section at the moment of connection. The bridge deck widens in the plan at the apex above the river to act as a meeting place and dramatic viewing deck out to sea.
The form of the bridge is intuitive, sculptural - as if carved from the landscape - and beautiful. It uses a sweeping elliptical line - creating a trajectory for the eye to follow - resulting in a dynamic and highly expressive silhouette.
The geometry of the bridge was designed to appear naturally and effortlessly from the landscape. This was designed by creating a bridge alignment and elevation that emerges tangentially from the slipway and ground. The steps and seating areas at the base of bridge emerge from the ground and slipway as if carved from the landscape and are shaped to naturally anchor the bridge. These provide a contemplative seating space and direct connection to the water.
The materiality of the deck is steel and the finish would be a graphite or bronzed finish.