Unique Landscape Recreated At Botany Town Centre
Unique Kiwi Landscape Recreated At Botany Town Centre
A unique Kiwi landscaping project is nearing completion at the $180 million Botany Town Centre development site in East Auckland.
Two years were spent in the planning and planting of more than 110,00 trees and plants – including 6 metre high Pohutukawa trees – to reflect the diverse ways in which New Zealanders use the landscape.
Botany Town Centre manager, Gale Wieland, said the landscape design was inspired by more than 700 in-home interviews with residents in the local suburbs.
"This wasn’t a case of an outside developer coming in and dictating what would happen. It’s inspired by the local residents and integrates architectural and landscaping techniques to create a heart for the community."
Chief landscape architect for consultant Natural Habitats, Trudy Crerar, said the end result is unique on a grand scale – four slices of New Zealand landscape integrated with the largest retail development, in one space, in New Zealand.
"The four distinct themes are wilderness, rural country, suburban gardens and precious items. It’s almost like the layers of the countryside one would pass through when approaching a town in rural New Zealand."
The centre is bordered the first layer of landscaping, wilderness, which is designed to resemble this country’s early environment.
The wilderness includes a recreation of the original wetlands in the area and together with a flax arboretum will have indigenous fauna and flora, like birds and frogs.
The flax will be harvested and utilised in partnership with the local iwi Ngai Tai.
"Visitors can read footnotes on flora and fauna which once existed in the area, and actually view the trees of our native forests, such as Kauri, Totara and Titoki," Crerar said.
The car parks are integrated with a slice of Auckland’s lost rural countryside. The rural fields will feature native meadow grass, herbs and wild flowers – like the poplars, which stand over sage and Norfolk pines rising above Echinacea.
Passion fruit, grapes and kiwi fruit vines will climb alongside roses over arbors and sheltered walkways resembling farm sheds.
"Closer in amongst the buildings, pedestrians may promenade in a retail street surrounded by perennial gardens. Edible plants, herbs, vegetables and flowers line the paths.
"All the gardens will integrate with special features like signage and natural paving sensitive to the surroundings and aimed at creating a town centre ambience.
"Typical of many New Zealand towns, the streets are lined with Plane trees and Liquidambers. The lane is divided into three sections, each with its distinctive water well and floral colour combinations," Crerar said.
At the heart of Botany Town Centre is the Conservatory where Auckland artist, Virginia King, has captured the treasures of New Zealand’s environment in her ‘Forest Canopy’ sculpture.
King has created suspended kauri forest canopy five and a half metres above the floor, with the largest part of the artwork rising to 15 metres above ground level.
The floor of the Botany Town Centre Conservatory is inlaid with bronze native tree leaves, kauri snails, eels and lizards – across which two streams appear to meander. A border of inlaid exotic tree leaves completes the Forest Canopy sculpture.
"Throughout the whole centre, smaller landscape delights can be discovered. From courtyards with water features in buildings, to an orchard complete with plum, citrus and olive trees," Crerar said.
Walkways and a 2 kilometre cycle track provides a welcome contrast to the arterial routes and connect local schools, residential areas and green spaces with Botany Town Centre.
Organised like a local community with its own lanes, park areas, a Town square, Conservatory and Market Square, Botany Town Centre currently has 12 large format stores open at stage one including the largest Farmers in New Zealand. Stage two will comprise more than 130 specialty stores, cafes, and offices when it opens in May this year.
AMP Henderson Global Investors Ltd is the developer of Botany Town Centre.