Devonport is a charming Edwardian suburb on the shore of the Waitemata Harbour facing Auckland City. In 1987 its old ferry terminal and pier was in a state of extreme disrepair and was offered by the Auckland Harbour Board to potential developers in open competition. The charm of the town is considerable and it was important to the Harbour Board that any development should be in keeping with the local character of the place, and that it should have thes upport of the community.
I was employed as a design consultant by one of the potential developers - Wilkins and Davies. I helped choose the main architects - Hotson Bakker of Vancouver (one of Canada's foremost waterfront architects) and in the development of design principles (Pattern Language) and brief, as well as in the form and content of the final proposal. I also organised and facilitated a community forum where residents were able to contribute to the design process.
The proposal included a small boutique (40 room) hotel - the economic anchor for the whole development - together with a mix of retail accommodation and greatly improved ferry terminal facility, all topped off by a major waterfront restaurant. The design was budgeted at $8 million. The design was one of two that were short-listed, but was ultimately unsuccesful. The successful design was built and failed economically (it did not contain the necessary hotel units that would have provided the economic foundation for the development. Proposals are currently being sought to redevelop the site once again.