Apia Waterfront project: A look into the future
Samoans can expect a more user friendly as well as beautifully landscaped event space in front of the government building by Independence Day 2019.
Leading the design and engineering team are New Zealand company, B.E.C.A. Group and Samoa’s O.S.M. Consultants.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, B.E.C.A. Technical Director of Planning, Graeme Roberts said the first part to be redeveloped is the area directly in front of the Government building before the contract moves to the Clock Tower Boulevard.
According to Mr. Roberts, the end result will be a well planned area designed for easy flow of traffic as well as good use of space.
“So this grass area in front of the government building will approximately double in size from what is here now,” said Mr. Roberts.
“It will be twice as big, so the car park will also double in size from what is here now. Carparks on the eastern side and the western side will be re-organised; we’ve increased the number of car parking spaces by about 30.
“We’ve made the traffic circulation simpler so there will be one way circulation system in the car park so people don’t get confused. It’s very simple and very safe with low speed in the car park, slow speed in the road that goes through and from the government buildings with a raised area in front of the government buildings where the steps are now.”
The design is also focused on creating a space that can easily accommodate any type of public event.
“In addition, New Zealanders are trying out demountable stages that can be reconfigured in different formats for different types of functions,” said Mr. Roberts.
“So you can have a reviewing platform for Independence Day, or tiered seating or you can have a runway or walkway for music shows and fashion shows.
“This can all be taken down and put up very quickly, but it’s all made up of aluminium and made of permanent materials so instead of the government having to make a temporary stage every year for the festival, they’ll just bring out the stage every year.”
The design team is made up of a group of engineers, traffic engineers, landscape architects and urban designers. Mr. Roberts said the project has been brought together as a unifying design using all those techniques.
They have been working with local supplies to understand what plant materials are suitable for the big central grassy area, keeping in mind that they do not want plants to obscure peoples viewing in the events hosting areas.
According to Mr. Roberts, a lot of the inspiration is concentrated around giving the opportunity to have traditional Samoan colours and plant materials. He added the second phase of the project is dedicated to allowing local artists to contribute to the finished product.
“There was also (at various places in the designs) spaces reserved for cultural markers, which are going to be a series of flag poles and a series of art works, yet to be fully defined they are hoping to have the structures or sculptures so the next stage of this project is to commission a competition for artists to submit their proposals to be incorporated into the design.
“The idea is to give the local artistic community, ownership of the element of design; our design is really just a background for the display of those materials.”
Local consultancy, O.S.M. has been working with B.E.C.A. Group for the past four years and has been taking a supervisory role over the contractors in this project
“We have an M.O.U. relationship that’s been going on for the past four years so this project started in 2016 and the details design drawings are just released now and we are ready to start.
That’s the role of B.E.C.A. and O.S.M., we’ve been involved in a lot of the consultation process with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Ministry of Works and they’ve been instrumental to try and get a lot of those cultural features in place through the design.