Kiwirail’s Safety Screens.
In a city where we have come to expect square and “safe” design, it is a revelation to see that the new rail safety screens are anything but that. They are bold, adventurous, contemporary and exciting. I love them.
New yellow and white screens on road and foot bridges around Auckland’s rail lines are designed not only to protect people but also lend style to Auckland’s urban environment. The 87 new screens are a joint initiative between Auckland Council and KiwiRail. The modular design was developed by Wellington design consultancy Pollen, will be installed on road and pedestrian bridges across the region.
The screens, part of the Auckland rail electrification, are designed to provide safety with style, with exceptional durability, innovation and sophistication. The use of repeating parts allows for streamlined installation, repair and maintenance. The angular aspect of the modular design makes them difficult to climb on, and they are made of glass-reinforced plastic which is durable and resistant to vandalism.
There has already been international interest in the design, with The Government of South Australia’s Department of Transport and Infrastructure in talks with Pollen on a similar project in Adelaide. Alf Filipaina, Chairman of Auckland Council’s Culture, Arts and Events Forum, says the screens are an excellent example of good urban design, balancing form and function.
“The project has been a great example of taking something ordinary, in this case a simple protective screen, and making it extraordinary. The screens are visually striking and enhance the urban environment while keeping Aucklanders safe, we’re looking forward to seeing them pop up around the city.”
Adam Ellis of Pollen, says the screens’ zig zag, ‘electrified’ form communicates an important safety message to the public emphasising that there are live electrified wires present, while the yellow colour connects this message to the safety yellow used on rail platforms. “The design is able to take on different forms by re-ordering modules and changing colours creating an engaging and dynamic set of highly recognisable objects in the city. It makes a statement, Auckland rail is modern, live and electrified.”
The screens will be installed progressively around the network and attached to the sides of the bridges above the wires ahead of the electrification of the rail network in late 2013. Installation began in December last year.