the crazy Blade Bridge in Auckland

Denton Corker Marshall Win Bridge Design Competition in Auckland

Architects Denton Corker Marshall, working in collaboration with engineers Hyder Consulting and Kenneth Grubb Associates, have won the international design competition for the Te Wero Bridge in Auckland, New Zealand. It seems a bit of a stretch to call a bridge stunning but this design most definitely fits the bill. Really quite amazing.


The NZ$50 million bridge will link the city’s CBD with Wynyard Quarter – an industrial area of Auckland’s waterfront that will be transformed over the next 25 years. Intended for public transport/cycle/pedestrian use, the Te Wero Bridge is a twin leaf bascule aluminum bridge with a vertical tower/mast of 60m.



The deck is split longitudinally into two separate components: the south leaf, longer and broader than the north, carries the two road lanes; the north leaf provides a 6m wide pedestrian/cycle path. The bridge will have an opening span of 40 metres to enable large boats to access Viaduct Harbour.


As the bridge opens, the two leaves separate coming to rest in a ‘V’ configuration with the decks angled obliquely to the mast and each other. The aerodynamic silhouette of the leaves suggest the modern sails of contemporary racing yachts.


Describing the design, Director Neil Bourne commented, “At rest, the striking mast stands sentinel in the heart of the harbour. In motion, the blades rise, split and then separate, twisting so edge becomes face. Upright, the three elements settle into a dynamic, yet elegant, composition.”


Professor John Hunt, Professor of Architecture at the University of Auckland and Chair of the Judging Panel said, “The judging panel agreed that this striking submission stood out from others in respect of its high level of design innovation and the unique way the twin leaves open.”

The Auckland City Gov site has a animation of the bridge raising and lowering, its a swf file so it can't be embedded, check it out. Te Wero Bridge animation

Key design features

  • responds to its harbour context and distant views with large-scale distinctive cultural form and elegant profile
  • vertical tower rises above yacht masts and creates a permanent gateway feature to mark crossing point regardless of whether the bridge is open or closed
  • deck splits in two as it rises, with the leaves sweeping apart to come to rest in a V configuration
  • the longer, broader south leaf carries the two passenger transport lanes while the north leaf is exclusively for pedestrians and cycles
  • the three primary elements of differing length and width form an asymmetric composition. When viewed from different angles, they create infinite combinations of juxtapositions as the bridge leaves move towards the mast.

Construction features

  • lightweight deck and counterweight arrangement result in very low energy use
  • deck can be fabricated using local boat building expertise
  • material selection gives excellent durability and low maintenance regime.

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