Grimshaw's designs for three stations of the future City Rail Link in Auckland, New Zealand have been revealed.

Each station has been designed in conjunction with local tribal authority, mana whenua, to integrate the narratives of the Māori creation story, Te Ao Marama. Each station additionally responds to its immediate location within Tāmaki Makaurau, the traditional name for the region surrounding Auckland. The project is regarded as the largest ever infrastructure development undertaken in New Zealand.

The rail link features four stations with te reo Māori names: Maungawhau (Mt Eden), Karanga a Hape (Karangahape), Te Wai Horotiu (Aotea) and Waitematā (Britomart). The names are steeped in history and represent important elements of iwi tradition and heritage.

“Grimshaw is honoured to contribute to this significant project for Auckland in Aotearoa, New Zealand, which will change not only how people transit through their city but also how they share and celebrate the rich history of Tāmaki Makaurau,” says Grimshaw’s Managing Partner, Neil Stonell.

“Working with the Link Alliance and in partnership with the Mana Whenua Forum has been an enriching experience for Grimshaw and a pertinent reminder of how architecture should be engaging, impactful and of its place.”

city rail link auckland grimshaw renders

Maungawhau Station (Mt Eden) channels the atua (deity) Mataoho, who created the basalt volcanic field in Tāmaki Makaurau. Patterned precast concrete and basalt form a floor-to-ceiling wall within the station, with 53 lava-coloured cast-glass triangles that are organised to represent a map of the volcanic field. The largest triangle is crafted from Maungawhau basalt and water flows over the surface of this and the surrounding section of the wall, which channels the natural environment pays respect to Parawhenuamea (atua of freshwater) and how freshwater needs kōhatu (rock) to flow. 

Karanga a Hape Station’s name is a grammatical correction of the original station’s name which is dedicated to the story of Hape and the Great Migration. While all four stations are designed around the creation story with Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother), the design for Karanga a Hape Station also references their son, Tāne Mahuta, God of the forest. The entrance ceiling to the station channels the kauri tree which features abundantly in the forests of Aotearoa.

city rail link auckland grimshaw renders

Te Wai Horotiu Station at Aotea will be the busiest station in the country upon completion, with the name honouring the Waihorotiu stream and wetland system that flowed in proximity to the station. Wellesley Street entrance features rods of varying lengths that hang from the ceiling, which reflect the water and the kaitiaki (guardian) of the area. Waitematā Station (Britomart) reflects nearby Waitematā Harbour. The station sits in close proximity to where the harbour and Waihorotiu meet.

The stations were designed by Grimshaw in collaboration with WSP as part of the Link Alliance, a consortium of seven companies, including City Rail Link Ltd, which will deliver the stations and tunnels of the project.

city rail link auckland grimshaw renders

Once CRL is complete, the stations will be connected by an underground 3.4km twin-tunnel rail link located up to 42 metres below the city centre that will double the capacity of Auckland’s rail network. Each station will be a powerful expression of its location and the line-wide design.

For more information on the rail link, click here