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Now More Art For Sturges - Auckland - AKT

Now More Art For Sturges


Andy has given us an update of the final art - more ribbons on the east side of the bridge and the kids drawings.


It feels like the longest road building exercise ever.

Finally traffic is flowing as it should on Sturges Rd Henderson with the replacement rail bridge and a balustrade erected as a safety requirement for electrification.

With infrastructure projects in the former Waitakere council area comes art.

STURGES RD: The new bridge art work

It was one of the nicest approaches the former Bob Harvey-led council did – trying to deaden the cold look of transport infrastructure. The council held the vision and intent to integrate art into infrastructure projects to create a sense of place, to become landmarks and create a sense of identity.

It’s policy was official defined as saying: Culture is reflected and appreciated in the everyday life of the community and the City is itself a work of art. Council participates in creative pursuits and has a deep and wide perception of arts and cultures in the City, which leads to a sense of place and identity and an arts rich urban, public space.

Way back in 2007, local artist Anthony Sumich was judged as presenting the most compelling idea for art on the bridge. He had approached local schools and worked with students to produce drawings based around the idea of “happy” to feature on the glass balustrade on both sides of the bridge.

The simple drawings the children produced were laser cut into the steel elements that make up the canopy’s of the artwork. The council budgeted $6,586,000 for the Sturges Road overbridge replacement from which $300,000 was set aside for completing the arts integration.

Anthony Sumich’s concept for the bridge saw five ribbons enveloping the structure – the artist’s interpretation of the Waitakere Ranges which are clearly visible to the south and west of the bridge.

Thanks Andy for your photos.




  1. joust says:

    looks good. major improvement on the 1950s crumbling concrete it replaces.

  2. Stranded on the North Shore says:

    it definitely looks nice, clean and modern, i wonder how long it’ll take to get graffitti on it…

  3. odaikorob says:

    Well done! All of the bridges slated for reconstruction on the AKL suburban rail network need this kind of artistic treatment. Mr Sumich should be allowed to do at least one more bridge before the entire rail network upgrade is completed.

  4. Matt L says:

    They look good from the station platform as well :-)

    I do hope that AT and the council carry on the tradition as it certainly improves otherwise bland infrastructure

  5. ingolfson says:

    I do hope the strange wooden hoardings atop the concrete balustrade are not a permanent part though?

    I am afraid they are - though I agree, this looks a lot better than the “what is this - is this what you call design?” look it had before. It looked unfinished, and obviously was.

  6. Matt L says:

    ingolfson - no the wooden hoardings are not permanent, they will be replaced with glass covered in the children’s drawings (I imagine that they were waiting for the red arches to be installed first so the glass wasn’t broken)

    I should add that from the station they look like they wrap over the bridge but I really like how as a pedestrian they don’t impede the view in any way

  7. swan says:

    Its a shame the council ran up hundreds of millions of dollars of debt in the process.

  8. ingolfson says:

    I am sure the “art” part of a few “art bridges” don’t make up a particularly big amount of any WCC debt.

    And I’d rather my city go into debt for a nicer city than through various other ways cities have gone to debt throughout the ages - I mean, Hamilton went under due to overspending on an EVENT (the V8s), and Auckland supercity will be paying off RWC debt for a long while. Better to actually spend your money on infrastructure for your city, I think.

  9. Brenda Lewis says:

    Red is my favourite colour - but I think this looks ridiculous and way overpriced

  10. Bryan says:

    Five were mentioned - are the other two to go over the opposite footpath?

    There has been much less grafitti during and after the RWC. Long may that continue. :-)

  11. Bob says:

    They look great. Vibrant. Good work.

    Great ideology from the old council. Hope the new council adopts a similar approach.

  12. Finn says:

    I think the design was a waste of money. They should’ve just built the bridge, and nothing else.
    They’ve probably spent atleast $1000 on this. And its not going to be long before idiots who live in West Auckland are going to destroy it, climb it, or use it for graffiti. Plus the design looks like nothing.
    I know the Auckland council is stupid, but come on!

  13. Ian says:

    The steel work adds a nice splash of colour. I hope it will be kept clean.

  14. Rtc says:

    Looks nice - good job - much better than a sterile concrete bridge.

  15. Bryan says:

    Another one has gone up over the opposite footpath.

  16. ingolfson says:

    Finn, under that argument we should go for the most bare-bones (and in most cases, ugly) approach to everything in our public environment, and partially on the basis that some people would damage it? Screw that - and they will find it hard to do any permanent damage to steel plates. Good on Council for this.

  17. Abdul Rahman Ahmed says:

    Contractor has done a great job for such difficult shape…Thanks to them ” I think it was Hawkins Infrastructure “

  18. kenneth says:

    Art or debt whats better?

  19. urbanlocal says:

    Art is better! Art stops damage and graffiti which reduces long term costs.
    Take the New Lynn Trench. The panels have not been defaced, but gaps where they are not present (around the fire hydrants) and where the walls are bear have been tagged.

  20. Ingolfson says:

    Okayyy…. sorry if I am peeving anyone off, but that children’s “art” looks pretty bad. It looks a bit like graffiti itself, too, and not the arty kind either.

    At least it won’t affect the look of the bridge from a longer distance, and maybe one day we can take the glassy part off again. Sigh.

  21. Bob says:

    Re Ingolfson…….Art is very everyone……kids and all…….not just the art snobs…I’m sure the kids that live in the area (and there are a few) will enjoy it……still think it all works well. Quite lively.

  22. Anthony says:

    I love it! :D

  23. Cam says:

    Fabrication was done at Cullham Engineering and Painted by Counties Industrial Coatings Ltd, some graffiti has already been removed but they have turned out well!. paint is a Resene graffiti guard product and should stay nice and easy to clean off.

  24. Rachel says:

    It is brave, fabulous and thoughtful.
    I truely hope the new council continues to support artists to beautify, add ‘community spirit’ and defy the destuctive dissidence of a few tragic members of society.

  25. Pat says:

    Since it was put up in December I have seen the graffiti people, glass people and engineering people working on the “art”. What a load of rubbish they have put up and it’s going to keep costing the ratepayers money. Why weren’t we asked whether we wanted it?

  26. Zoe says:

    For info, this bridge was not designed BY Anthony Sumich, it was designed IN MEMORY of him, using his idea of ‘ribbon like forms’.
    It was actually designed by my other half; an engineer / architect comissioned by the council to do exactly that. It was designed from scratch at our dining table, on his laptop; I watched him do it with my own eyes, and then watched him work build a model of it in some geeky engineering programme, to ensure it could actually be fabricated!
    The other people who were essential to the design were the fabricators who did a fantastic job of creating a very difficult shape, and the chap from the council who was their key representative.
    Recognition where it’s deserved, peeps.

  27. Mark Osborne says:

    Hello Zoe,

    Interesting comments above. I think the record needs to be set straight.
    I worked on this project for 5 + years in my capacity as Public Art Project Manager at the former Waitakere City Council.
    WCC asked 4 artists to produce concept designs for the bridge. Ant Sumich was one of them and his design was selected to be built. Not long after this Mr Sumich passed away. Waitakere Council consulted with his family and it was agreed that Council would continue with the project.
    The public art team at Waitakere City Council worked through the developed design process for the artwork. We defined exactly how it would look. Where it would be mounted on the bridge etc. At that stage Aecon engineering were contracted to undertake structural design and draw up plans etc. This art work was most certainly designed by Ant Sumich.

    The engineers were an important part of the design team but not the desigers as such.

  28. Harry says:

    I think that the design would look great if it was used on a pedestrian bridge. I personally think it looks a bit hap-hazard in the way that the artistic and unusual-shaped ribbon design is right next to a normal, straight road.


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