*Guest Post by Bill Toomath, one of our well-respected architect members of the Architectural Centre
To gain a virtually realistic experience of what it would feel like to be alongside and under the proposed NZTA flyover at the Basin Reserve one can easily beam down on Google to a similar project at Bucharest in Romania. There a major overbridge was completed in 2011 with a concrete and steel overpass across the end of a main boulevard and extending alongside several streets, all closely resembling the present nature of the NZTA’s proposals.
By going on Google Earth to long/lat 44 26′ 57″N, 26 04′ 09″E one will land at a part of the Basarab Overpass system in the north of Bucharest. One can then move about on Street View to experience from many angles the impact of the structure on the city environment. Discounting its pylon suspension bridge over railway yards and an increase of lanes on the overpass, the structure is directly comparable with the Wellington proposal and conditions. Its bulk and height are similar, as well as the proportions of supporting piers.
Another section of the overpass can be seen nearby, at long/lat 44 26′ 54″ N, 26 03′ 45.5″ E, in this case with a fully concrete-formed structure.
The impact on the surroundings is clearly apparent in the multiple street view sequences available from these locations, together with numerous icons for ‘still’ photographs .
The divisive effect of a visual barrier closing the end of the boulevard can be readily assessed. The impact on sites alongside the overpass is also evident, as well as the conflict of the structure’s scale with neighbouring buildings. The land beneath it, mainly paved, is seen to be unoccupied except by carparking and the occasional dwarfed figures crossing it.