LandLAB 13 Tessa Harris Karangahape Road Bus Shelter

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Henry Crothers
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Cory Manson
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Scott Greenhalgh
  • Kaitautoko / Contributor
    Tessa Harris
Judge's comments:

Turning the prosaic into a wonder. This bus shelter incites joy into a daily commute and. transforming an ordinary function into somewhere special.


The recently completed bus shelters on Karangahape Road are a simple yet elegant piece of infrastructure. Within the broader project, the elements on the overbridge are the key mahi toi expression for the upgrades. This has been expressed through tukutuku weaving of repurposed steel screens and the new bus shelters.
There was a clear mandate from the local community that standard designs would not be appropriate. The bus shelters were an opportunity to expand on this. The brief was to be bespoke, elegant and vibrant – representative of the colourful creative community.
The specific colours of the glass were a narrative of pāua, developed with local mana whenua artist Tessa Harris. This represented the importance of the overbridge and its views as the 'eyes' of Karangahape Road. The overbridge is the only place along the street with views to the broader landscape of Mangawhau and the Waitematā. The significance of pāua is that it is traditionally used in Maori carving as the eyes.
Tessa was also involved in repurposing screens from the sides of the overbridge to use with tukutuku weaving along with students from Auckland Girls Grammar.
The colours were developed through an iterative process, extracting the key colours from a sample of pāua. The colours were both mocked up in visualisations and test prints, resolving the right level of refractivity to be vibrant – but also visible through the glass.
Rationalisation of the units was required and the ease of replacement was also an important consideration, with six colour gradients making up the full spectrum.
The resulting outcome is a unique piece of infrastructure, embedded with cultural expression that equally has been adopted into the vibrant Karangahape Road environment. The translucency and light gives the shelters a dynamic relationship to the street which are just as playful during the day as they are into the evening. An unexpected outcome has been the colours streaming through the glass onto the pavement.