An ambitious plan to future-proof and develop Dunedin's waterfront with a conference centre and hotel has been unveiled by local architect, Damien van Brandenburg.
A large 3D-printed model of his vision and an accompanying video built by Ian Taylor's Animation Research Limited bring the spectacular shell-shaped proposal to life.
Dunedin's residents love the concept, with locals telling Checkpoint the design was "crazy, wild" but a good fit for the city and the 21st century.
"I think it's fantastic," one Dunedin woman said.
"You've got a lot of old derelict buildings [in the area at present] and you could really make it something."
A cockleshell-inspired cultural centre rising above Dunedin's Steamer Basin would be the centrepiece. It is a far cry from the warehouses and vacant industrial lots which fill the space at present.
Mr Taylor said he got on board with the plan this year after he was approached to help bring it to life.
"[Damien] had this idea for a bridge - it was just spectacular - but I said to Damien 'this is fantastic, but it's a bridge to nowhere. That harbour's a mess'," Mr Taylor said.
"He said 'but I've got an idea' and he pulled out this cardboard box and in it he had all these models, and he placed them around and said 'that's the vision'."
That vision has since been backed by the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, Port Otago, Ngāi Tahu and Otago University.
The young architect was the driving force who made it possible and his work was "priceless", Mr Taylor said.
Mr van Brandenburg said the concept came to him while looking out at the harbour and seeing its potential.
In his spare time, he put together the concept which was now visible in the scaled-down model.
Mr van Brandenburg said the concept was definitely possible, as had been showcased by the ambitious build of fashion house Marisfrolg's headquarters in China which would one day house 30,000 staff.
The first step to bringing the harbour development vision into reality was to build a footbridge into the basin to open the area to pedestrians and link it to the central city, Mr van Brandenburg said.
Potential designs and costs for the bridge would be discussed by Dunedin City Council in December with public consultation to follow.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive Dougal McGowan said the design had received a mixed response from the business community with concerns also expressed as it was not the first time hopes for the development of the area had emerged.
Previous plans did not materialise and there was some scepticism as to whether the concept was possible.
However, some of those fears might be allayed once greater detail was available and consultation had begun, Mr McGowan said.
There's plenty of water to pass under the bridge before development begins, but at least now there's a vision for that future.