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NZ wins international landscape architect award

Media release – May 9, 2006

New Zealand wins international landscape architect award


The Taranaki Wharf redevelopment project in Wellington has won a major international landscape architects’ award.

The award just announced today will be officially presented at the International Federation of Landscape Architects’ Eastern Region congress in Sydney on May 26.

It is a credit to the quality of the landscape architectural profession in New Zealand that the Taranaki Wharf project has been recognised with the award.

Landscape architects in New Zealand were striving to enhance the landscape and to contribute to the design, conservation, and management of the environment, New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects president Renee Lambert said today.

``What was particularly impressive with Taranaki Wharf was the strong emphasis on environmentally responsible and sustainable solutions. This is a great credit to Megan Wraight and all those involved in the wharf project.’’

The Taranaki Wharf project was carried out by Athfield Architects in collaboration with Wraight and Associates Limited.

Megan Wraight was a key figure in the winning team that developed the principles for connecting Wellington city back to its waterfront and developing a linked “necklace” of open spaces that would form a braided promenade around the inner harbour.

``An important first move for the design was declamation,’’ Wraight said today. ``Although it probably goes unnoticed now, the original finger wharf form of Taranaki Wharf was revealed by reducing the level of the backfill behind it, which also established a better setting for the rowing club buildings on the lagoon.

``Wharf structures are also revealed through the use of cutouts and access to the underside, where there can be shade and shelter and beautiful reflections onto the underside of beams.’’

Wraight’s site research included paddling a kayak into the deep recesses beneath the wharf to find the line of the seawall.

One of its strengths is that neither architecture nor landscape architecture is an obvious feature of the wharf.

Components such as the inlaid timber beams that span the wharf in line with the bollards could be read on many levels - as an original functional part of the wharf, or as an artwork, but it is unlikely to be seen by most people as landscape architecture.

The grand vision for Wellington’s inner harbour waterfront is yet to be fully realised but Taranaki Wharf works superbly well as it is.

It still has the raw hard honesty of a working wharf area. And it attracts Wellingtonians in their thousands to walk, ride, sit watch and enjoy the ever-changing edge of the sea.

IFLA’s Eastern Region President James Hayter said the awards recognised the best quality landscape works within the region including Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan Indonesia, India and China.

``The best of landscape design and planning is vitally important for the future of the planet in order to blend man's footprint with nature,’’ he said.

ENDS

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