piha domain eel bridge
The Piha Domain Footbridge was created as part of a series of place making art projects, funded and managed by Waitakere City Council.
As part of an innovative approach to designing public spaces, Council Arts Managers paired up artists with structural engineers to create designs that were fresh, and visually exciting to the public.
In 2008 along with 2 other artists, Mandy Patmore was invited to submit a concept design for a new arts bridge across the Piha Stream. The existing bridge was narrow, unattractive and the pilings were cracking. Her design was selected as the winner.
In designing this bridge, Patmore wanted to create not just a path across the water, but also a space which respects and blends with its surroundings, and a space which would allow users to stand and reflect on the local environment. She also wanted to use this opportunity to pay homage to New Zealand's endangered long finned eels; a species in rapid decline, which has a remarkable life cycle - one which is fraught with dangers and challenges.
The Piha Domain Footbridge is inspired by the shape of a large migratory eel. Inlaid into the flooring are the 4 different stages in the life cycle of a long fin eel. The bridge railings reference the native plants on the stream banks, which are crucial to the health of the waterways.
Photo credit Tessa Crisp