Birdcage Hotel & SH1 Motorway
Date: 2004-11

Location: Auckland CBD

Client: The City

Award: NZILA 2010 Silver Award - Visionary Landscape



The SH1 Victoria Park Tunnel Project is part of NZTA’s plan to ease congestion through the motorway corridor which circumnavigates Auckland’s CBD. The project will increase road capacity by creating a new carriageway underneath Victoria Park for traffic travelling northwards towards the Auckland Harbour Bridge, while the existing two-way viaduct over the park will be converted for south-bound use only. In the medium term (2030), NZTA plans to underground the south-bound lanes and demolish the viaduct. 


The tunnel design requires the movement of the Birdcage Hotel, an architecturally significant heritage building (1886), sited on the original coastline before Freemans Bay was reclaimed with Victoria Park.


Our efforts were directed towards ensuring NZTA return the hotel to its original position on top of the tunnel. This will maintain the building’s important historical and social relationships with the precinct, as well as protect its relationship to the open space in front of it.


We developed many design drawings in order to promote this outcome, as well as to convey how this could be achieved. Engineering advice determined that moving the hotel twice presented no further structural or heritage risk and only minor additional costs. These would be off-set by NZTA selling the 40m corridor space the hotel was going to reside within. Medium-density housing here would improve the Franklin Road streetscape and increase the residential population within the precinct.


We gained support from city and regional councils, the local community board, community groups, adjacent landowners, heritage and engineering experts and urban design professionals. NZTA confirmed in June 2010 that it would return the hotel to its original position and in April 2011 successfully carried this out.


Now all aspects of the precinct can be developed to their potential in the future. The hotel and public space will become the focal point of the precinct and at a much larger scale the transformed precinct will form a western gateway to the CBD.


Our design demonstrates how infrastructure can work on multiple levels, drawing together local communities, healing the ruptured fabric of the city, and creating a new urban vision for the city.



See media coverage:   


Historic hotel to start its ‘pub crawl’ home, Prime TV video and Radio Live, 12 April 2011


Timelapse footage: Birdcage's big move, 31 August - 1 September  2010 


Auckland's Birdcage makes way for tunnel, TV3, 31 August 2010


Transplanted Birdcage to get its old position back, 24 June 2010


Historic Birdcage to migrate 40m uphill for two years, 13 February 2010


Design group wants Birdcage returned to its roost, 10 August 2009


Teflon-pad plans to shift heritage pub, 20 July 2009


Reinstating Birdcage ‘no problem’, 17 July 2009


Tavern’s move is one way only, 14 July 2009


Designers back double move for Birdcage, 09 April 2009


Don’t cut corners planners told, 04 April 2009


Transit urged to rethink landmark move, 11 September 2007


Make pub the focal point, tunnel planners urged, 10 September 2007


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