Back to the Promenade
After being closed for reconstruction for most of the year, the Tug Wharf Promenade at Kumutoto reopened this morning. Apart from new lighting and seats, the main feature is a new bridge, supported by a "Cradle" at one end and a "Crane Tower" at the other. This bridge looked disappointingly nondescript in the earlier renders, but there are many more subtleties of shape visible in the final product, and by all accounts there's some innovative engineering going on underneath it all. By replacing a section of the heavy tug wharf with a slender, tapered span, the bridge enables the declaimed "stream mouth" to have better visual (and small boat) access to the harbour, and the tower itself creates a sort of archway that helps to mark a stage in one's movement along the promenade.
Work on some of the public space north of Kumutoto Plaza will continue for a while longer, perhaps for a few more weeks, but most of the public spaces in this stage of the Kumutoto developments are now open to the public. Significantly, it's now possible to skate or cycle along the water's edge from Whitmore St to Oriental Bay for the first time in years, since the promenade in front of Chaffers Dock closed for Waitangi Park construction and didn't reopen until May. It's a pity that the Mojo won't be open until early January now, since that would have given us a first indication of how the combination of promenade, plazas and buildings will work together as public realm. With any luck, the ground floor of the Meridian building will be fully tenanted before the end of summer, bringing another part of the waterfront to life at last.