Harewood Underpass

Completion date
Landscape Architecture

Jasmax led the landscape and urban design of the Harewood Underpass, part of the SH1 Russley Road /Christchurch Gateway project.

Extended under a 4 lane highway, this 180m ‘Cathedral’like underpass adopts the persona of the Southern Alps that form the backdrop to the Canterbury Plains. Designed to reverse the perception of underpasses being venues for crime, the structure features snow white facetted concrete panels made from recycled concrete. A field of bespoke natural light tubes pierce through to the roundabout above to deliver shafts of natural light into the underpass, marking the halfway point and shifting with the sun over the course of the day.

Coloured textured panels break up the 80m length of covered underpass, acting as distance markers as pedestrians and cyclists make their way through the volume.

The panels are colour-matched to weather patterns seen in a transect from west to east with the fiery western sunset, stormy west coast skies, the Nor’west Arch, and a broad blue Canterbury sky in the east. Extensive plantings on the roundabout, motorway margins and bridge embankments draw on the textures of the dry Canterbury Plains.

The Harewood Underpass has been acknowledged as a defining feature in the city’s cycle infrastructure network, raising the profile of cycling and connecting the city with the fast growing airport precinct. The project demonstrates how an otherwise tough transport infrastructure project can produce elements that deliver a scale and appearance that can be appreciated by people moving at slower speeds and contribute to the vibrancy of the city.

The design and construction of the Harewood Underpass was delivered by a McConnell Dowell-Downer joint venture on behalf of NZTA, with AECOM.

"Underpasses, when required, represent a significant design challenge to ensure that matters of personal safety, amenity, connectivity, and integration with the surrounding built environment are addressed. The Harewood Underpass represents a quality outcome in relation to how these facilities are detailed and constructed. This facility adds to making cycling (and walking) an attractive transport choice within this part of Christchurch City.”

- Sam Bourne, Principal Advisor: Urban Design and Landscape


  • 2017 Interior Awards Finalist - Craftsmanship
  • 2016 Sustainable Concrete Awards - Excellence - Civil Concrete Construction
  • 2017 NZILA Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards - NZILA Award of Excellence - Infrastructure
  • 2017 Resene Colour Award - Commercial Exterior Award (Winner)
  • 2017 Resene Colour Award - Maestro Nightingale Award
  • 2017 Best Awards - Silver - Public & Institutional
  • 2017 Best Awards - Silver - Colour Award
  • 2017 Interior Awards - Finalist - Craftmanship

Other team members

Joshua McIntosh Registered Architect Christchurch
Nick Pearson Registered Landscape Architect Auckland
Nick Scarles Senior Landscape Architect - Associate Auckland
Adrian Taylor Registered Landscape Architect Christchurch
Mike Thomas Principal Auckland, Christchurch
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