Plus Architecture’s Master Plan for the Port of Auckland

The Port of Auckland forms the backbone of freight logistics and transport not just for New Zealand’s largest city but also for most of the North Island. Plus Architecture has been engaged to work with the Port on a broad redesign and master plan of the existing facility ahead of a proposed future relocation of the Port.


Jaimin Atkins, Director of Plus Architecture’s New Zealand studios in Auckland and Christchurch, has worked with his team to provide designs for several proposed new buildings to improve the existing port, as well as providing a better connection between the Port and the city.


“The vision for the Port was to provide a high-tech facility which reduces noise and impact,” says Atkins. “Our master plan also paid considerable attention to increasing efficiency and, importantly, revitalising Auckland’s foreshore.”


Recently released to the public, the Port of Auckland 30 year plan features Plus designs which bookend the Port, with new offices for the Port Authority at one end, and a hotel with a multi-storey car park at the other. This plan will see the queues of cars brought on shore for sale relocated to a custom-built facility. The multi-storey car park concealed behind the new hotel will stop car storage taking up valuable port real estate, as well as protecting the imported vehicles. “Currently, there are thousands of cars stacked along the foreshore,” says Atkins. “This is an unsustainable system which will only worsen as the volume of imports increase.”

The cars that once spread across the wharf will be accommodated by the multi-level car park – which will be cleverly hidden by a green public park overlaying it. The placement of the hotel adjacent to the car park, on Quay Street, will further reduce the impact of the car storage facility.


The design of this hotel draws its inspiration from its industrial backdrop, providing a striking, angled structure reminiscent of stacked shipping containers. In this design Plus sought to celebrate the port and provide a bridge between the high-rise structures of the CBD and low-rise industrial structures of the port.


Plus Architecture has not only responded to the unique topography of Auckland’s harbour, but to the rapid changes in technology. From manpower moving shipping containers to fully automated robots, the new Port Authority’s administration offices and robotics workshop is proposed to replace the existing 1960s building headquarters. “The port’s operations have evolved, making the current building unable to adequately provide a headquarters for port services now and in the future,” says Atkins.


The new design of the port headquarters was conceived not just with current technology in mind, but also with the future of shipping logistics, as AI and automation plays a greater role in all aspects of our lives.


Throughout its history, shipping has helped shape Auckland into the thriving city it is today. Plus Architecture’s proposed master plan celebrates and evokes that heritage, while delivering a port that is better able to provide for the future infrastructure needs of Auckland and New Zealand.