How about an un­der­wa­ter sta­dium?

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

An un­der­ground wa­ter­front sta­dium has been put for­ward for Auck­land.

The sta­dium, which is the brain­child of Auck­land de­signer Phil O’Reilly, has been dubbed ‘‘The Crater’’ and would sit on the wa­ter­front but would be sunk un­der­ground to avoid be­ing a vis­ual bar­rier.

In a sub­mis­sion to Auck­land Mayor Phil Goff, O’Reilly said the sta­dium could eas­ily incorporate an all-weather slide-over roof which could also be re­pur­posed as a park or pub­lic space when closed.

Auck­land came close to hav­ing a wa­ter­front sta­dium for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Labour gov­ern­ment in 2006 an­nounced its pref­er­ence for a wa­ter­front sta­dium over up­grad­ing Eden Park and so too did Auck­land City Coun­cil, but the Auck­land Re­gional Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously against it.

Goff has said he would rather build a whole new sta­dium, on Ngati Whatua land next to Vec­tor Arena, than in­vest an es­ti­mated $250 mil­lion more on up­grad­ing Eden Park over the next 15 years.

O’Reilly said put­ting a sta­dium un­der­wa­ter would get rid of any ar­chi­tec­tural angst about what it should look like and he be­lieved it could be done safely.

Any sta­dium built in the tra­di­tional way wouldn’t be able to com­pete with the most fa­mous struc­tures over­seas, and this was a chance for Auck­land to be unique, O’Reilly said.

He pointed to Brit­o­mart train sta­tion, which was partly be­low ground, and said from con­ver­sa­tions he had had with en­gi­neers, an un­der­ground sta­dium would be sig­nif­i­cantly less costly than a tra­di­tional one.

The Crater, if it went ahead, would be a fit­ting ad­di­tion to the topo­graph­i­cal theme of Auck­land, O’Reilly said in his sub­mis­sion. ‘‘My re­search tells me it would be a world first con­cept that marked the city as highly in­no­va­tive and unique in pre­serv­ing a bal­ance be­tween its beau­ti­ful vol­canic land forms and the civic built en­vi­ron­ment.’’

O’Reilly said he hoped coun­cil would take the idea se­ri­ously. ‘‘I would like them to do that. That would be cool ... If enough peo­ple in Auck­land think it’s a cool idea, I would imag­ine it would be doable.’’

A spokesman from Goff’s of­fice said the sub­mis­sion had been re­ceived and for­warded to Re­gional Fa­cil­i­ties Auck­land.

PHIL O’REILLY

An artist’s im­pres­sion of a pos­si­ble un­der­ground sta­dium in Auck­land.

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