Submerged future for new stadium
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 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. ‘‘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.