Plans for epic diving platform at Wellington waterfront sets bold challenge to city planners

Design graphics for a 50-metre viewing platform at Wellington Waterfront.
ARCHITECTURE WORKSHOP

Design graphics for a 50-metre viewing platform at Wellington Waterfront.

Plans for an epic diving platform on Wellington's waterfront are challenging city planners to think boldly.

Architecture Workshop's Christopher Kelly has conceived a 50-metre-high timber viewing tower "that you can jump off with a rubber cord tied to your legs if you really must".

His idea is that it would jut out over the harbour near Te Papa.

Design graphics for a 50-metre viewing platform at Wellington Waterfront.
ARCHITECTURE WORKSHOP

Design graphics for a 50-metre viewing platform at Wellington Waterfront.

But while Wellington City Council community, sport and recreation committee chairman Paul Eagle was keen, a council spokesman said people wanting harbour views were probably better off going up Mt Victoria.

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Kelly said the challenge to city planners was to keep questioning "the quality of what we design in our cites and to continually benchmark ourselves internationally".

The new British Airways i360 tower in Brighton, England. Architect Christopher Kelly thinks Wellington should have ...
British Airways i360

The new British Airways i360 tower in Brighton, England. Architect Christopher Kelly thinks Wellington should have something to rival it.

The challenge for any incoming mayor was to seek new ideas to keep the city humming.

He pointed out that Brighton, on England's south coast, with a comparable population to Wellington's, recently completed the i360 – a vertical cable car that goes up to a height of 162 metres.

His design stems from the popularity of the Taranaki St Wharf diving platform, which "creates much enjoyment both for those who pluck up the courage to hurl themselves into the icy harbour, and those sitting in the sunlight cheering and clapping".

London's got the Eye - why not a bungy tower for our capital?
James McCormick

London's got the Eye - why not a bungy tower for our capital?

Eagle said that, with a bit of engineering work, the design should be "a goer". "Maybe we could crowd-fund it."

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However, council spokesman Richard MacLean said initial feedback around the council was "somewhat taken aback".

"While this construction is arguably impressive, size isn't everything – and most Wellingtonians would be more than happy to just take their chances on the existing platform," he said.

Seoul Tower looks out over the Seonggwak fortress wall.
123RF

Seoul Tower looks out over the Seonggwak fortress wall.

"We tend to think that Wellington's emergency services would have a view on the proposal, given its height and the fact at least two young men have died in recent years after jumping into the harbour from height.

"If people want a view of the harbour, they can always go to the top floors of Te Papa or even up Mt Victoria."

Waterfront Watch president Patrick McCombs said his initial response was enthusiastic.

"The jumping platform has been a great success, and this idea would be taking it to another level.

"I recognise that they'd need to charge for the bungy jumping, but a $5 million contribution from the council, instead of spending it destroying Frank Kitts Park, could provide free public viewing from the lower levels."

 - Stuff

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