World Park(ing) Day was an event held as part of the Festival of Architecture where more than 50 parking spaces across the Central City, Ponsonby, Karangahape Road, Devonport, Takapuna, Henderson, Avondale and Mangere were occupied by urban installations.
World PARK(ing) Day is an international movement, which started in San Francisco in 2005, that looks to improve the quality of the public realm and reclaim the streets for the people – one parking space at a time. Each participant takes over a parking space for the day and provides a temporary installation that contributes to urban place-making. World PARK(ing) Day challenges its participants to think about the full dimensions of urban social ecology by asking them to “investigate the range of social, cultural or ecological deficiencies in your particular urban setting. What is missing from your city?”
Architectus saw this as an opportunity to explore their immediate urban setting and engage with local neighbours by occupying the parking space on the corner of Shortland Street and High Street, directly opposite the studio.
The urban installation looks to improve the existing High Street public realm and create an opportunity to facilitate urban conversation. It emerged through a series of steps:
In-house design competition to stimulate ideas and challenge collective thinking of Auckland’s urban spaces. Several entries were combined together to unify the urban proposition.
High Street is currently a vehicle dominated street with parallel parking on both sides. Pedestrian movement is confined to narrow sidewalks and squeezed in aspects where street signs and streetlights take up valuable areas of pavement.
The first step was to paint a yellow line = no parking. Extending the yellow line would reduce the number of cars occupying the street and begin to improve the public realm of High Street.
Transforming the one-dimensional line into a two-dimensional surface. This creates an opportunity for reclamation of the sidewalk and increased pedestrian priority by occupying an area that would ordinarily be taken up by a car.
‘Inhabiting the yellow line’. Transforming the two-dimensional surface into a three-dimensional object that can be inhabited. The installation was designed to offer an opportunity for local neighbours and passers-by to sit, contemplate and discuss their urban thoughts. Doodles, thoughts and quotes populated and took over the installation’s yellow walls as the day progressed capturing High Street and Auckland’s possible urban future.
Resene Lumbersider in Resene Supernova was chosen to work with the existing yellow road markings adjacent and achieve the bold statement that the installation demanded to provoke engagement and a response from passers by. The bold yellow on all wall surfaces of the installation provided a bright canvas for doodles to evolve on over the day while retaining its identity as a 3D abstraction of a yellow line.
The utilisation of cardboard boxes enabled prefabrication of the installation into modular groupings of 3-6 boxes for rapid assembly and disassembly on-site during World Park(ing) Day.
The Architectus team had an early start to secure the prominent parking space and to construct the installation’s base which included deck jacks with plywood flooring and a carpet tile finish. Once the base was complete, the assembly of the pre-fabricated box modules was finished in a speedy 20 minutes. Finishing touches including last minute paint touch ups and layout of the stools saw the installation completed by 7:30am for passers-by to see on their way to work.
Several other unique World Park(ing) Day installations populated High Street and collectively stirred a buzz, particularly as people made their way up the street with most stopping to talk and look closer at each installation. Team members ‘manned the station’ throughout the day which lead to informal conversations with passers-by about Auckland’s urban and built environment. At 5pm the disassembly process off the installation was just as rapid as its assembly.
Architectural specifier: Architectus
Photographer: Joe Hockley, Architectus
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