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NZILA Awards: Landscape Planning Section Citations

NZILA Awards: Landscape Planning Section Citations

Landscape Planning And Environmental Studies Silver Awards

Barry Curtis Park Developed Design Booklet: Isthmus Group Ltd

The design booklet for Barry Curtis Park communicates the design intent and vision for this 100 ha strategic park in Manukau City. The park brings together hydrological and ecological networks with a range of cultural elements and recreational facilities adjoining the new town centre at Flat Bush.

The booklet presents a complex layered strategy in a professional, well-illustrated format. It provides a sophisticated framework for park development that incorporates hydrological corridors and catchment basins, and expresses the dynamic tension between cultural and natural elements in the city in a highly creative way. The project has potential to influence the future development of Flat Bush in a way which would provide added benefits throughout the wider community.

This entry is deserving of a silver award for the way in which it presents a strategic long-term vision and comprehensive analysis and rationale for a major urban park development.

Natural Character Assessment of the Firth of Thames and Kaipara Harbour: Boffa Miskell Ltd- John Goodwin and Sue Dick

This study describes the methodological results of an assessment of natural character of the coastal environment. as a guide to the location of aquaculture activities in the Firth of Thames and Kaipara Harbour.

The particular feature of this study is the way in which it clearly presents a rational method of assessment for a complex issue spanning both marine and land-based parts of the coastal environment. It combines a scoring method with qualitative descriptors of landscape modification which will provide a robust framework for policy development. In being linked to guidelines prepared for the MFE in it’s environmental performance indicator programme this entry develops and implements a methodology which can be integrated within a wide policy context.

This entry is deserving of a silver award for developing a robust analytical approach to a planning issue of wide interest and relevance.

Papatoetoe and Hunters Corner Revitalisation: Isthmus Group Ltd

This project draws together a number of linked investigations into an urban area requiring revitalisation. It features a designed-orientated approach to community consultation, develops a vision for the future, and presents design-based guidelines for urban intensification.

A particular strength of this entry is the way in which urban history, transportation, economic activity and infrastructure are integrated with community perceptions. The documentation presents a possible future direction in an attractive and accessible format which communicates the richness of the social and historical fabric of the area.

This entry is deserving of a silver award because of the way in which technical and economic issues are drawn together within a strong sense of place and townscape to provide a positive future vision for this community.

Landscape Evidence for Queenstown Landscape Decisions 1-8: Ralf Kruger

This entry comprises evidence presented to the Environment Court on behalf of a local environmental society in a series of hearings linked to the Queenstown Lakes District Plan and the subsequent Environment Court decisions. The focus of the evidence is on defining the landscape qualities of the Queenstown Lakes District and the development of a policy regime that would address the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The notable feature of this evidence is the way a subtle understanding of cultural and natural landscape values was used to undertake evaluations that led to specific recommendations for landscape management. The evidence was effective in influencing Environment Court decisions and in clarifying the implementation of the RMA in respect of landscape.

This entry is worthy of a silver award because of the impact it has had on a major series of Environment Court decisions which has had wide landscape ramifications.

BRONZE AWARDS

Review of Chaffers Park Competition: Ralph Johns, Linda Kirkmeester and Graeme McIndoe

This entry was a review of the short-listed entries for the Chaffers Park design competition in a key location on the Wellington waterfront. It is based on a systematic application of competition criteria and illustrates the value of a transparent and objective judging process undertaken in an intensely political climate.

The entry is notable for the systematic way in which it elaborates and applies the competition criteria to an analysis of the entries. It also draws out design aspects requiring further development in order to meet the brief and identifies the most effective entry. The process is very clearly documented and communicated and was a major influence on the subsequent decision by council.

This entry deserves recognition in the form of a bronze award for the way it maintains consistency in evaluation across a diverse range of design solutions.

SUSTAINABILITY LANDSCAPE PLANNING: BRONZE

Managing naturally regenerating totara on farmland under the Forests Act: Paul Quinlan

This entry comprises an application for registration of a sustainable forest management plan under the Forests Act 1949 for a lifestyle farm in Northland. The plan identifies the potential for sustainable harvesting of naturally regenerating native species, predominantly totara, as part of an integrated farm management plan.

This entry deserves recognition because it demonstrates an additional tool for sustainable rural land management, to complement the normal RMA processes. It develops an approach which has potentially wide application to the regeneration of marginal areas in Northland.

STUDENT AWARDS RESEARCH CATEGORY: AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

Motorway Design within an Aural Topography: Paula Wilkinson

This entry focuses upon a little recognised aspect of landscape design. It maps the aural topography of a proposed highway corridor, and combines this with the aqueous and visual dimensions of that route. The process uses different layers of analysis to generate new possibilities for roading design and alignment.

The study is conceptually and graphically engaging and innovative. The different layers of analysis successfully reveal dimensions of the road environment that are typically overlooked as design potentials and builds up a range of exciting possibilities for design intervention.

As a student project this deserves an award of excellence.

OTHER ENTRIES

Greening Central Wellington: Boffa Miskell Ltd

This study presents a vision and guidelines for the use and management of plants, trees and green open spaces in central Wellington. The study is predominantly a series of microscale analyses and design suggestions which, whilst systematic in detail, do not appear to address the ecological basis for action. The material would have been of more value if the underlying strategic contribution of urban greening to the urban ecology of Wellington had been more fully recognised, and if more critical consideration had been given to the way that the functionality and aesthetics of urban vegetation link to a strategic urban design framework.

Banks Peninsula Marine Farm Review: Boffa Miskell Ltd- Sue Dick and Allan Rackham

This is an assessment of the natural character of the coastline of the Banks Peninsula for the purpose of assisting with the evaluation of marine farm applications. While being a competent and professional piece of work it uses conventional expert based techniques and does not extend the body of knowledge in any significant way.

Auckland City Community Gardens: High Lusk and Doug Craig

This entry is a discussion document on the concept of community gardens and their potential applicability within the local government policy and planning framework for Auckland City. Whilst a useful consolidation of information on the issues related to the establishment of community gardens, the study offers few new insights or strategic direction.

Tiverton Road: Thresher Associates and Hugh Forsyth

This entry is a landscape appraisal of the existing streetscape and potential impact of new carriageway proposals on Tiverton Road in Auckland. It is focused on a detailed description and prescription for landscape treatment of the road reserve. The entry would have been much stronger had it placed these solutions within a broader landscape and neighbourhood context.

Paeroa Community Consultation: Boffa Miskell

This entry informs the community about streetscape proposals for Paeroa and illustrates the way the District Council intended to fund the project. It clearly communicates information about the financial implications of the proposal in a professional format. Although the entry is a generally competent presentation it does not significantly extend current practice.

STUDENT ENTRIES

Indigenous wildlife habitat regeneration in New Zealand production lands: species ecology as a basis for spatial arrangements of habitat structure: Bruce McKenzie

This entry consists of a comprehensive literature review on the use of species ecology as a basis for landscape design and planning in production lands. It looks at the habitat structure in the context of European cultural landscapes and reviews habitat methodologies against the New Zealand landscape. It is a competent literature review and an interesting application of the European experience to the New Zealand cultural landscape. However it fails to fully explore the implications of this process and to develop its application to the local context.

The Application of GIS in Sustainable Neighbourhood Development: Jeff Myles

This entry utilises GIS to identify sites for sustainable urban communities. The macro scale analysis is competent but offers little new, and the study shows the limitations of utilising GIS at the finer site level. Perhaps this was not the ideal project to test new GIS techniques, as was concluded in the study. LANDSCAPE DESIGN RESDENTIAL

GOLD

Pie Melon Farm Ted Smyth

Ted Smythe has yet again demonstrated how incredibly successful a pared back design can be, evident in this latest masterpiece at Pie Melon Bay, Waiheke Island. Inherent here is a sophisticated understanding of the natural surrounds, and how elegant minimalism backed with flawless implementations can actually amplify ones appreciation of this most beautiful locale

Pie Melon Farm is a 600-acre working private farm, with some areas of existing mature native forest. The site is within Pie Melon Bay (Roro Hara), located on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The terrain covers steep coastal slopes through to a sandy beach punctuated with rocky headlands. Just above the beach rests a substantial new stone-clad home, with boatshed, all ‘anchored’ to the land with a contemporary landscape of rock wing-walls, sweeping terraces, wide patios, lawns and bold planting. Substantial native revegetation is being carried out on the land above and to landward of the new home.

There was no formal brief from the client, apart from a desire to see rainwater “falling freely from the roof”, and to reuse some existing palms, cacti and succulents. Apart from this, the only verbal instruction from the client to the landscape architect was, “Do what you think is right, Ted”. There were however, stringent ARC sediment controls and the requirement for a sustainable planting program needing only minimal establishment watering.

Smyth has gone to great lengths to address and thoroughly resolve the stormwater issues (this was the first part of the design) in creative ways, from deep rock-filled filtering channels next to the long sealed access drive to exquisitely detailed cobbled beds fringed with the thinnest of slot drains to take the roof runoff. Much of the flanking slopes have been fenced off and extensively revegetated to reduce surface flow, and in short time a seemingly established planted theme will evolve, knitting together a land previously extensively grazed.

The resulting landscape is one of pared-back simplicity and elegance, from the wildness of the rapidly re-establishing bush, to the poetry of the house ‘clearing’ on the edge of the beach. The forms of the terracing, planted beds, and sculptural rock placements serve to highlight the breathtaking beauty of the natural surrounds. Nothing that Smyth has done here fights against the nature of the site. The hard edges and bold sweeps, the planting and boulder placement have all been detailed, supervised and constructed in the most refined manner, and curiously serve to focus one’s attention beyond to the ruggedness and intricacy of the coast and the wonderful setting. What we saw here is an absolute design confidence, gained from a wealth of experience in knowing when to stop with pen and ruler, to ensure that the expression of the nature of the place comes foremost.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN RESDENTIAL

GOLD

Walter-Krüger garden Ralf Krüger

Ralf Kruger has eked every drop of possibility from this incredibly tight site overlooking the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown. A delightful series of sheltered, sunny garden-ettes, inextricably interwoven between the fabric of the land and house itself leaves no doubt that designing for small spaces is highly challenging but also infinitely rewarding.

This is a garden that goes beyond just the normal surrounds of the home. Critical to the success of this garden design is the relationship with the architecture of the house, internally as well as externally and the connection with the rugged nature of the open rural slopes above and deeply incised gully below. House and garden have been conceived as one over several years. A long-standing friendship and continual collaboration with Arrowtown architect Max Wild shows clearly in the success of this home and garden.

The 1500m2 site is steep and in places rocky, with a 34 metre difference in elevation. A narrow ledge halfway up overlooking the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu, is where the house and garden have been sited. The house has been carefully aligned around this narrow ledge - a natural pivot point in the landscape. The form of the house also pivots, following this natural cue which has created a series of tiny, but very well used outdoor living spaces in sheltered ‘nooks’ around the house.

Gabrielle and Ralf lived in the house for a full year before doing anything with the garden. The landscape design has literally evolved “in the blank margins of old newspapers”. Frequent spraying and pegging out of the garden forms were experimented with, assessed, removed and tried again until solutions were found. This is a landscape that has been patiently created after much thought and understanding of the nuances of the site.

The garden is small but is a part of and responds to a larger landscape. It has been designed and built in the Queenstown vernacular – a rugged look. It’s a classic example of good landscape design – keeping small intimate human spaces close to the house, rapidly extending into the natural landscape. The various views and microclimates have been eloquently considered and spaces have been designed accordingly to maximise these.

Local materials from the site have been used in very elegant ways, such as the local schist used to create a rugged retaining wall to support a small raised potager garden built against the bank, set on edge at right angles to the gradient to form a non-skid sloping path, or crushed for a patio below the outdoor dining furniture.

Planting sites have been carefully prepared, displaying great understanding of implementation, maximising the sites potential and the natural processes at work such as the local micro-climatic extremes. The fern spore riddled soil that has been collected from the wild and incorporated into the rock wall crevices displays the sort of thorough understanding of natural processes at their smallest scale. The use of plant material shows a finely considered understanding of the possibilities of mixing the exotic and native, celebrating the form, texture and colour of each and combining them in exciting, clever ways. Even the weed species – their control and their visual connection with the hillsides above and around the site- have been intelligently considered.

The clear success of this garden is the result of patience, a thorough understanding of the ecology and nature and possibilities of the site I implemented through a genuine collaboration between client, landscape architect and architect.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN RESDENTIAL

BRONZE

FLACKS GARDEN Ralf Krüger

Ralf Kruger has shown us yet again how successful an honest approach to design can be, when it is combined with his clear understanding of the historically evolved landuse culture of this part of the Queenstown basin. With bold confidence and creativity at all scales, he is marrying a potentially incongruous building into a large rapidly establishing formal garden and the wider landscape.

The Flack garden surrounds a grand ‘Italianate villa’ located on the western side of Slope Hill near Queenstown. This landscape has evolved over a series of development phases since 1995 and is currently undergoing further additions.

The main aim of this large-scale landscape design – to marry the inherent formality and geometric bulk of the house with the surrounding landscape has worked well. It is clearly an honest response to a cultural layer, emphasizing the historic well-lived in and highly modified aspect of this verdant part of the Queenstown basin. It does not attempt to hide the house or inappropriately naturalise the setting, now long gone. Looking outward, key vistas to the wider landscape and important natural features have been incorporated into the design where possible.

The design resolution is good, the forms of the planted beds, and species mix is apparently minimal and bold, the size of steps, walling, pergolas and other hard elements is massive and equally plain but sits well with the scale of the house, without being too influenced by the architectural symmetry. The garden sits comfortably and confidently in its immediate site and greater context.

The detailed level of (planting) design thinking is excellent, taking cues from the architecture, in particular where the house is intended to ‘age’. The landscape addresses this by using climbers to eventually envelop the house, and plants spill among the cloisters while grasses push up through the graveled forecourt area, between the schist steps and retaining walls.

This garden is clearly in its infancy, but shows signs that with a continuing involvement from Krüger, it will look fabulous given time and maturity. The slow mellowing of the house combined with its leafy covering, will gradually reduce its apparent bulk and encourage a stronger connection with the land.

Whilst this is a very impressive work in progress, it is clear that the best is still to come, trees will come into ‘scale’ with the house, there will be some fleshing out of the finer planting details. The closer this garden comes to being complete, and with an ongoing commitment its long-term management, it will just get better and better.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN RESDENTIAL

BRONZE

MOLLER/YING RESIDENCE, HAMILTON Deitmar Bostfleisch

Deitmar Bostfleisch breaks down the boundaries between indoors and out in this most successful and modest of garden designs. A sensible and considered understanding of his clients backgrounds and their newly modernized house has led to a garden mixing flair with home comforts, with a surprise around every corner.

This small garden design has been designed to strongly integrate with a completely transformed older home in suburban Hamilton. The clients’ cultural backgrounds (Asian and Scandinavian), in conjunction with an obvious New Zealand theme, is well reflected in the final outcome.

There has been an excellent response to the form of the building with bold modern elemental and geometric shapes. Indoor-outdoor connections have been cleverly manipulated with captive views from within to landscape features such as the water feature alignment with the picture window. Sophisticated landscape design connections outside, link with the Scandinavian furniture inside, evident when viewing the simple paving grid forms mimicking the rhythm of the ‘egg-crate’ book shelving.

Detailing is inexpensive, but well resolved, simple and restrained and will stand the test of time. The clients’ requirements that the landscape design be low maintenance, comprise a series of well-sized linked outdoor rooms, and become an extension of the (internal) fabric of the house has been achieved. One of the living rooms is now used quite differently due to the success of the garden design outside. In places window coverings have been revised!

The bold chunky pattern of paving grids in a curious way gives so much emphasis to the open spaces; it obviates the need to focus on the edges. The native planting theme is simple and strong, featuring bold forms, textures and colours - a pleasant complimentary contrast with the extensive hard grey- coloured vertical and horizontal landscape elements.

This design has really maximised a fairly limited site. It focuses the essential elements in the right places, it creates drama and atmosphere through the use of water, hard and soft landscape components, dramatic night lighting and decking to gain views down into a surprisingly large established older garden. Best of all, it very successfully relates indoor living with out. LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN

Gold

TARANAKI WHARFAREA REDEVELOPMENT Wraight and Associates Ltd.

The Taranaki Wharf project fits perfectly into the tough wind-blown Wellington working waterfront. It is innovative and surprising in its design. Bold moves were made to remove reclamation material and re-form levels and the shape of the shoreline. The popular waterfront concourse now satisfies people on all levels.

The Taranaki Wharf project had its genesis in the Lambton Harbour Public Spaces Concept Plan. Megan Wraight was part of the winning team that developed the principles for connecting the city back to its waterfront and developing a linked “necklace” of open spaces that would form a braided promenade around the inner harbour. Fundamental to the concept was being able to choose from a variety of routes and places, with differing degrees of activity, shelter, height above the water, etc.

An important first move for the design was “declamation.” Although it probably goes un-noticed 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. Megan’s site research included paddling a kayak into the deep recesses beneath the wharf to find the line of the seawall.

The other important “declamation” was around the entrance to the lagoon. This opened up a broader channel to be spanned by a spectacular new bridge, allowed more functional use by rowing crews, and allowed the detailed reconstruction of a semi-naturalistic shoreline.

This new shoreline wraps around a headland known as “Treasure Island.” This is a place where the visitor can wander amongst maritime paraphernalia and Wellington coastal vegetation, to little intimate spaces where the sea can be experienced close-up. It is a playful environment, where the bric-a-brac is concentrated, allowing the main promenade to remain open and elemental.

The indented rip-rap shoreline has attracted a lot of fish life back into an inner harbour which was considered to be almost ecologically dead.

The Taranaki Wharf design was completed in close collaboration with Athfield Architects. 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, as an artwork, as an exact reflection through the surface of the underlying structure - it doesn’t matter which, but it is unlikely to be seen by most people as “landscape architecture.”

This is characteristic of most of the features in this project. They can seem undesigned and accidental (reflected light through gridded decking at the Te Papa breastwork) or mystifyingly bold (Odlins timber garden). Megan rarely produces the expected.

Because this design aesthetic fits so seamlessly into the rough functional character of the wharves, one is scarcely aware that the master plan is far from finished and that other parts (a major new bridge, a parallel walk further inland, a waka structure, etc) are yet to be added.

The design does not overtly copy historical maritime models, but re-interprets them. The timber garden, for instance comprises a geometric grove of massive recycled wharf piles standing vertically within the gridded expanse of the Odlins Plaza. The timber, its over-scale dimensions, and the steel detailing by which it is fixed to the paving grid all speak of the waterfront.

This timber garden looks like a bold sculptural piece when no-one is there. However it also incorporates lighting and big eye-bolts to fix market canopies, and on festive occasions the upright piles are unbolted, lowered by crane onto the ground, and used as seating for an outdoor waterfront auditorium.

Nearby a stand of karaka trees is thriving within a sheltering cage, from which they will be released when the trees have grown tall enough for people to walk beneath them. Beyond Taranaki Wharf itself, the project has carefully refined the breastwork along the western foreshore of Te Papa, helping to clarify the relationships between the natural planting, the wharf edge, the geological wall of Te Papa and its pool. There is new seating and the small charms of light playing up off the water below.

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.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN

Gold

HASTINGS CBD Isthmus Group

This is the most sophisticated redevelopment of a town centre yet seen in New Zealand. It integrates community aspirations, the cultural context, art, the landscape, and, and the highest quality of urban detailing, to create a vigorous new identity for central Hastings

The centre of Hastings was rundown and struggling economically. This project began as a fast-track millennium project and then grew in three stages to a full-scale rescue package for the CBD. The first stage removed the East Mall, restored two-way traffic to the main street, and restored the mainstreet viewshaft to Te Mata Peak. Stage 2 rebuilt Russell and Market Streets, restoring two-way traffic and stimulating a new café precinct in Russell St. Stage 3 rebuilt the West Mall as the central pedestrian space.

Isthmus Group have followed up their sound urban development strategy with polished design work that reflects the essence of Hastings – the heat, the wine country, the local landmarks, the Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture.

A sophisticated incentive scheme was initiated to encourage appropriate paint schemes for the attractive commercial buildings. And without descending into kitsch, Isthmus Group complemented the style in their streetscape design – most notably with the spectacularly sinuous lamp standards – known to the locals as the “snake lights.”

Other street furniture is executed with equal class, the layout is classical in its inspiration, and the large polished off-white kerb blocks reflect the limestone colours of the Hastings landscape. The circular planter boxes are surfaced with high quality tiles and topped with a polished granite coping. The large central water feature, which spans the railway line and connects the two sides of the city, has been rebuilt with granite edging to let people get close up and touch the water.

The “fruit bowl” identity of Hastings is celebrated with hanging flower baskets and olive trees – the produce of which will be harvested, pressed, and bottled for civic gifts.

Artworks have been incorporated into the city centre on a scale not previously seen in New Zealand. They range from “high art” by Neil Dawson and Virginia King through “arbours” of community works by local artists extending their scope, to a flock of beloved sheep inherited from the old mall. In all cases they have been designed to be integral with the project rather than an add-on. They help to define spaces, to highlight focal points, to add a touch of magic at a waiting point.

The arts programme represents an enormous commitment to collaboration between the Council, the arts advisory panel, the designers and the community. The programme was co-ordinated by David Irwin of Isthmus and Georgina King of EMS. The process of commissioning artworks was a source of community celebration and fun.

The project has rejuvenated the central business district of Hastings. Not only have the spaces between the buildings been improved, but there is a whole sense of re-awakening of the town centre. The streets are busy again, vacant shops have been filled, footpath cafes have sprung up, and people express pride in their city centre. It has become a focus for community activities and has re-established itself as the centre of the city.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN

SILVER

WAITARA CBD Isthmus Group

The Waitara project is more than a quality upgrade of a town center - it is a vehicle for a community healing process, which acknowledged, for the first time within the town, the local events that initiated the New Zealand land wars.

The river port of Waitara was the first European settlement in Taranaki. The New Zealand land wars started here when the Pekapeka block alongside the town was taken from the local iwi in an underhand deal.

Waitara’s riverfront quays eventually fell into disuse, its dairy factory and freezing works closed down, and the town suffered from unemployment and a weak economy. Within this context Isthmus Group were commissioned in 1996 to develop a project plan to upgrade the main street, and re-develop the disused riverfront area. Later, the opportunity was taken to develop a vacant section - connecting the main street to the rear parking areas. This became the Pekapeka walkway, with much of the work carried out by local carver, Rangi Bailey and a team of at-risk youth.

The centerpiece of the project is undoubtedly the riverfront park – West Quay. The adjacent street was narrowed and a raft of pedestrian focused facilities were established in clear view of the river. At the highest level a broad hardwood timber boardwalk recalls the earlier wharf and doubles as a stage for community events. Connecting back to the street, and forming the auditorium, is a meandering “net” of lime chip paths, interspersed with seating, play equipment and exuberant coastal planting.

The detailing and patterns reference the geology, history and cultures of the area. The lamp standards, for instance recall the sweeping shapes of a waka or a Polynesian navigation chart. Most significantly, a large stone at the entry to the park has been carved in acknowledgement of the historical leadership role of Wiremu Kingi Rangitake. This was a first for the local municipality, and is an important part of the healing process within the community. Waitara is fortunate to have local councillors with long-term vision.

In projects around the country Isthmus Group have demonstrated command of a wide-ranging palette, from the rugged simplicity of the New Plymouth boardwalk to the polished sophistication of the Hastings town centre. The Jury debated whether the Waitara project has hit the right note in the scale, or whether a simpler approach could have achieved more for the resources.

However we concluded that the great achievement of Waitara is the role the ongoing project is playing in bringing a wounded community together, and in creating a new sense of pride and purpose.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN Silver

WAIHI TOWN CENTRE Boffa Miskell Ltd.

The Waihi community’s brief has been fulfilled with a powerfully dramatic expression of Waihi’s mining heritage

Boffa Miskell were appointed in 1999 to re-start a streetscape improvement for the main street of Waihi. They reviewed the previous work, carried out a 2-day design exercise and undertook extensive consultation with the local community. They were not too precious to provide the community with what they wanted – a very literal expression of the town’s gold mining heritage.

They reconstructed an 18-metre high poppet-head structure – the big winch structure that acts as the lift machinery at the top of an underground mine. They picked the ideal position for this, at the highest point of the main street against the green backdrop of Martha’s Hill. It can be seen directly ahead on the Highway 2 approach from Tauranga, and much more dramatically on the approach from Auckland, where it stands out into the line of the street to form the climax point of an ascending line of historical street lamps that march rhythmically up the median line of the street.

The centerline of the street also features the town’s original Seddon Memorial, re-modelled and returned to its rightful place, and dramatic roundabouts in the form of a low steelbound cone, dotted with the metal balls used to crush quartz ore.

There are many other direct references to the gold mining – historical photos imprinted on the seat shelters, some rather lovely statues that recall local customs and events, rubbish bins formed in the shape of crucibles, a paving pattern of gold-bearing quartz veins snaking across the width of Miners’ Square.

Boffa Miskell identified two small vacant lots to develop as pocket parks. On one of them a water feature makes clever use of submerged gold lighting to re-create the image of molten gold being poured into a line of pots.

A new footpath was formed on the upper side of the street to link with the poppet head structure. As a millennium project the local schoolkids produced lively tiles that have been incorporated cleverly into the coping of a low retaining wall adjacent to the footpath as a double-row frieze.

Clearly,the impact of the project on the town’s image has been massive. Even the passing motorist must have no doubt as to what Waihi is about, and new pride has obviously engendered the refurbishment of many shopfronts, most notably a couple of historic hotels in prominent positions. Waihi has finally acquired a townscape that reflects it s historic past and sets the scene for the future.

Some of the work has been let down by inattention to detail. The crucible rubbish bins are chipping badly, and the poppet-head tree grills look good but the narrow aperture at the top is damaging tree trunks. The water feature in Wallnut Park is awkwardly sited and the detailing and drainage round its base are tacky. It looks like the installation was resolved on site. Some of the planting is too fiddly (hebes) and the species chosen are low and prone to pedestrian damage. The designers may have been better to have applied their strong gold-coloured theme more consistently.

In particular the seating and plaques mounted on the rock planters in front of the Miners’Hall, are set to the slope of the ground rather than horizontal. Sitting or reading at this gradient is discomforting.

Some of these problems may have stemmed from site supervision by a separate Hamilton-based project management consultant, but clearly the drawings and specifications were not thorough enough to take into account subtle site level changes, building frontage and laneway positions. There are some awkward paver junctions and alignments at 90 degree junction points.

The design has been further compromised by the subsequent failure to adhere to the concept of properly detailed kerbs and crossings – the new visitor centre was allowed to install a wide concrete kerb crossing that is seemingly oblivious to the paving standards set by Boffa Miskell.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN

BRONZE

ELLERSLIE TOWN SQUARE Thresher Associates

The Ellerslie project is a thoughtful creation of a small public space for community events, which also feels right when it is empty. It is designed with an elegantly assured restraint.

Thresher Associates were asked to prepare a concept for redeveloping the Ellerslie town centre. They identified a need for a focal point and gathering place and the site was chosen after much discussion with the commercial and professional community over the rights of people over cars. The site was originally part of a carpark so replacement parking was identified in nearby streets.

Will Thresher’s concept for the focal square was about building a space. The space had to have enough structure in it without impinging on the space as a square or on the potential use of that space. The objective has been achieved by defining the boundaries of the space with bluestone walls of different heights to allow views into and out of the site into the adjacent community. The floor plane is Australian bluestone. The dominant shape is a square paver which is used throughout the bulk of the square, but with subtle variations at a couple of thresholds and around fountain set flush with the paving.

Hard elements have been handled well with three different heights of walls and subtle variations of austere texture. The rock walls add a natural tactile friendly boundary to the space. Ground level fountains can be turned off to create a larger space. The combination of grey stone work, paving, and gray hedging, contrasting with the red-brown of timber and the silver of the aluminium is elegantly subdued. He has created a structure for the people to add colour Will has given a lot of thought to the degree and nature of enclosure such a square needs, and also to the problem of how it can provide uncluttered space for community events, yet not look empty when no-one is there. His solution to these issues is assured.

The square is “populated” by the fountain, by a row of three trees, and by a complementary row of five concrete seats. The design jury differed about these seats - on the one hand they were seen as cold and hard and set at a slight gradient, on the other as a sculptural element that lent the square interest when it was empty of people.

The design generally exhibits an effective use of different seating elements, allowing different ways and experiences of sitting. There is a school bus stop opposite and the area gets a lot of use from school-age users who do not appear to have vandalised it. The planting is appropriate to the site and the corokia hedging relates well to the greys of the walls and the paving. However the way the plants have been planted and maintained almost assures their long term failure.

When the six-jet fountain is switched off the square can comfortably accommodate a stage and an audience of two or three hundred. The development of the Ellerslie Square has completely changed the community and has given the area a real heart and focus for community events.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN URBAN DESIGN

BRONZE

TELECOM @ TORY Boffa Miskell Ltd.

The Telecom @ Tory Courtyard is an intelligent insertion of amenity and elegant design into a very challenging urban context

This was a very difficult job – to transform an amorphous carpark overshadowed by aesthetically challenged buildings with red 1970s canopies into a carpark and courtyard with class. In addition the budget was arbitrarily reduced at one stage, and the promised coffee kiosk didn’t finally turn up until the day after the design jury visited (which was the morning of Wellington’s big storm).

In these circumstances the design response has been impressive. The carparking was rationalized and Boffa Miskell identified an opportunity to capture one corner of the site for public use. It was defined by hedging and seating, with concrete coffee leaners adding sculptural interest.

A “walking sticks” shelter canopy – a collaboration between sculptor Kingsley Baird and Nada Stanish of Boffa Miskell – snakes across the back of the courtyard. This shelter is the result of a genuinely two-way collaboration, where both contributed to the evolution of the form, the striped colours on the angled legs and the sand-blasted dot patterns on the glass roof, which cast ever-changing pattern on the plain concrete paving below.

While there is some poor execution of the paving construction, and it doesn’t always relate well to the buildings (Large blank walls rising straight out of concrete), the paving forms a sophisticated linear pattern that kinks around the pedestrian desire lines. There are good contrasts between the polished finishes of the paving, canopy and sign with the rough textures of stone tree surrounds and plant materials.

Telecom courtyard is an excellent concept for a quiet courtyard by the street, it is elegantly designed and creates a welcome respite in an area not known for its outdoor spaces

LANDSCAPE DESIGN RURAL/PARK/RECREATIONAL

ORIENTAL BAY Isthmus Group

Isthmus Group’s Oriental Bay project is not only a bold design carried out with elegantly restrained detailing, but it also shows deep insight into the cultural and physical character of the bay. The landscape architect played a key role in changing the original brief and in hydrological and master planning decisions. The beaches, headland, pier and promenade now constitute a superb amenity for central Wellington.

This project represents a very successful team collaboration with Tonkin & Taylor as the principal engineering consultant and Architectural Workshop.

Wellington’s only inner city beach was first created in the 1840s from sailing ships ballast. Over the years, however, the sea had washed this away, leaving only a narrow strip of coarse sand.

The original brief called for a large “Miami-style” beach stretching across the full width of the bay. The first major achievement was in re-defining the brief to build three much smaller beaches. This decision respected the crenellated character of the existing inner city bay and its headland landscape forms. It means the sea at high tide still crashes up against the seawall at Fitzgerald Point and at the band rotunda.

To achieve this, a sophisticated design-led process modelled the coastal processes and designed sea structures that would retain the desired shape and location of the three smaller beaches. This resulted in the filling of a harbour hole into which beach material was disappearing, and the design of three different artificial groynes to control sand drift.

One of the three is made of large chunky rubble, but a gap at the landward end carefully maintains the integrity of Fitzgerald Point, allowing beach walkers, or the sea at high tide to pass between. One is completely underwater: a finely balanced exercise of ensuring it remains hidden and doesn’t constitute a hazard to small boats, but at the same time works effectively in controlling sand drift.

The third sand control point was identified a considerable distance out into the harbour. To form this, David Irwin of Isthmus Group designed an abstract landscape headland from pre-cast stacked concrete slabs.

The slabs offer a variety of spaces for people to sit, sunbathe, climb, and explore. Ramps allow disabled access into the water, and as the tide falls it exposes successive rock/paddling pools. Bright green algae and the draping of swells over the faceted slabs create a dynamic artwork. It has passed the “wedding test” – used more than once as a venue for wedding ceremonies. When the design jury visited, on the day of Wellington’s big storm, a large fur seal had chosen it as a refuge.

Most artificial headlands around New Zealand go for the big rubbly look - unconvincingly naturalistic. The more engineered ones are generally unsympathetically rigid, or too tentative in their expression. This one is both bold and simple – it looks “right” in its setting.

While the headland juts out at an angle determined by the modelling of coastal processes, the pier aligns itself with the street and wharf grid of Wellington’s inner harbour. It is simple, robust, and elegant – carefully detailed to avoid clutter, pulling the elements back to the bare essentials and doing it very well. The seating is chunky and simple, doubling as edge restraint.

Above the newly augmented beaches, many old stormwater outlets through the seawall have been gathered together and taken along under the footpath to exit through a semi-circle of slots around the walkable skirt of the band rotunda. At the right point of the tide the sea creates satisfying geometric patterns here as it surges out through the slots.

The wide foreshore footpath around Oriental Bay is very heavily used by strollers, joggers and cyclists - especially at lunchtimes and in the weekends. The Isthmus group went to enormous trouble to underground services and the excavated spaces around the trees were backfilled with structural soils to ensure that the present and future trees would thrive. But impressively, the temptation to add decoration and designer furniture has been resisted. In fact clutter - lamp standards, kerb extensions, tree planters - has been removed and a broad simple sweep of asphalt runs between the seawall and the street. A strong new kerb broadens the footpath and narrows the road to reduce traffic speeds. At the other edge the original seawall has been respected.

The landscape architect’s restraint is exemplified by the lighting. Rather than designing new lamp standards, they have removed the original ones and carefully hung unobtrusive lights in the trees. At night they shine gently down onto the flush limestone chip surface beneath the trees to mark the path, but minimize the glare that would detract from people’s enjoyment of the harbour.

The apparently simple broad footpath has been achieved by careful design and engineering input, and the tenacity to keep to the primary objective is admirable.

The judges have spent some time debating the question of sustainability and still differ over the desirability of creating artificial beaches. The sand type and colour is not natural in this setting, but ameliorating factors include: The landscape architect was influential in considerably reducing the amount of sand imported, Coastal modelling and design scenarios were trialled before settling on a configuration of headlands that ensures the sand will stay in place and require minimal ‘topping up’ and maintenance The sand supply was from a large new road cutting, and has not been removed from another beach somewhere else The beach is located in the inner city where everyone can easily access it without needing private transport. The beach area has increased useable open space and is very heavily used

All in all, the design jury believe this project is a model for complex design-led projects with a recreational and amenity focus.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN RURAL/PARK/RECREATIONAL

SILVER

MAIN BEACH BOARDWALK, MT MAUNGANUI. Isthmus Group

The Mount Maunganui boardwalk is polished, yet understated, sophisticated yet cost effective. It is a great improvement to the beach environment and is a very successful part of a much larger project to enhance the recreational experience along the Mount Maunganui foreshore.

Mt Maunganui is one of New Zealand’s best known and most loved summer beach destinations. It is the venue for key national surf lifesaving events and multisport events. As a result of this it has suffered extensive wear and tear. Tauranga District Council has upgraded Main Beach over the last 10 years and work has included toilets, refurbishing the foreshore area, installing coastal care works and latterly constructing the boardwalks. Isthmus group has been involved in many of these projects and their last project has been to design and manage the construction of a boardwalk running along the grass berm between Marine Parade and the sand.

The brief for the boardwalk area was to accommodate the intensive use of the area in a way that respected its natural amenity.

A three metre wide timber boardwalk winds its way along the fore dune. The boardwalk widens to accommodate pedestrian crossings and the road kerb. Access to the beach is along existing desire lines and down wide generous steps directly onto the sand.

The line of the boardwalk in the grass is sinuous and sculptural, particularly when viewed from apartments above the beach or from the Mount. The boardwalk separates pedestrian activities from vehicles and clearly supplies a satisfying surface to run, walk, skate or ride on. Details are simple and tough, but have been well thought through.

The boardwalk rests in the sand to enable the dune to move around it. Stainless steel screws provide solid anchorage on the edges. Changes in the direction of the timber signal access to the beach and the road. Grass grows over the edges and between the timbers softening the lines and integrating the boardwalk into the landscape.

The landscape is manicured yet the boardwalk sits very comfortably within that setting. It is at once casual and understated yet refined, sophisticated and cost effective. It is a great enhancement to the recreational experience along the Mount Maunganui foreshore.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN RURAL/PARK/RECREATIONAL

BRONZE

BALMORAL HEIGHTS RESERVE Boffa Miskell Ltd. _ Rachel de Lambert and Renee Lambert

Balmoral Heights Reserve is an accomplished landscape design which reflects the aspirations and open space needs of the local community whilst making a significant contribution to the landscape quality of the Balmoral Road journey west.

When Auckland City widened the intersection between Balmoral and Mount Eden Roads, houses were bought and removed, and, after pressure from the local community, the residual land was turned into a park,

As part of the process towards establishing residential land as public open space, Auckland landscape architects, Boffa Miskell were asked to undertake a study of the area to establish the need for additional reserves in the area. The local community provided a very specific brief.

Balmoral Reserve is a small linear space which sits above a busy road. It is a key visual component of the road journey, however it has been developed as a strictly local park separated physically from the road itself by a high rock retaining wall.

The wall is the result of extensive lobbying by the landscape architects. (The proposal originally featured a batter back into the bank which effectively eroded most of the flat land, and then a crib wall.) The rock wall reflects the hard edged and often inaccessible rock walling common to the Mount Eden landscape. This element is repeated in this wall; road edge access is deliberately avoided, and step and ramp access is provided at the ends of the park.

The designers have also avoided the standard park attraction of play equipment. Instead sinuous paths snake around the edges of the space providing a route for young children learning to ride bikes, roller blade or rollerskate. Open spaces can be used for casual ball games or to fly a kite. Planting reflects adjacent garden planting and extends them out into the park. Carefully located seating focuses on expansive views to the west.

The space is also part of the road corridor and as trees grow they will help define the intersection and road corridor.

The organic form of the park is pleasant, shrub and tree planting defines the space and flowering trees, shrubs and wildflowers provide seasonal visual interest, Balmoral reserve is a pleasant space which clearly belongs to the local community. The park is a terrace clearing waiting for people to populate it, for an event, a set for future activity.

The location of the park above the road and wall deadens noise, however it also sets it apart from the road corridor and makes it accessible to locals only. Its lack of play equipment and the proximity close to a busy roadway ensure it will not attract mothers with pre schoolers nor will it be well used by unattended children. It is clearly a park for locals - almost a private park or extension of the gardens that surround it. This park would have benefited from a more robust response to the needs of the wider community irrespective of the demands of the locals.


LANDSCAPE DESIGN COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRAIL/INSTITUTIONAL

GOLD

CHAMPION CENTRE THERAPY GARDEN AND PLAYGROUND Jenny Moore

Jenny Moore’s Champion Centre playground is a delightful child-centred garden; an intimate space that slowly reveals its secrets and provides delight and stimulus to adult and child alike throughout the year.

The Champion Centre at Burwood Hospital in Christchurch provides individual teaching programmes for children with multiple disabilities. A multi-disciplinary team comprising physiotherapists, occupational and speech language therapists, an early intervention teacher, play specialist, computer trainer, music therapist, and others, devise a programme specific to the needs of each individual child. The children come for the day in the company of their parents or caregivers, who often need some instructional and emotional support themselves.

Such a holistic programme is unique in the world, and the garden designed and executed by Jenny Moore is now central to its application.

The site is a small flat north-east facing courtyard within the grounds of Burwood Hospital. The building defines two sides of the space and an existing paling fence confines the space on the other two sides.

The brief evolved from extensive consultation with therapists and parents and a range of specific items of equipment plant materials and spaces were installed. In some instances these were modified to provide additional specific sensory experiences – for example there are 8 steps up to the slide so a child can sing through the notes of a musical scale.

Moore designed a simple sinuous circular circuit path that links together separate activity areas, each signposted by inlaid mosaics. Careful choice of materials and gradient make the path interesting, and create varied environments through the space. At the far end the path divides in two to provide a challenging gradient and surface, or an easier alternative route.

The design provides multi sensory stimulus to the children, parents and therapists involved in the outdoor therapy, hence the choice of a multitude of colours, forms, textures and smells in the plant material. The glorious mix of plant species, including sweet peas, cabbages and sunflowers, were chosen for their stimulus and experience value rather than their current status in the design world.

The design was well implemented within a very tight budget ($35,000 was fund-raised). Care and attention was paid to the details, which are robust and simple but very well executed. Macrocarpa seating and a swing frame structure are devoid of unnecessary ornamentation, practical with well chamfered edges etc, but also sculptural in their simplicity.

Safety standards were not always adhered to because children are supervised at all times, and dealing with more challenging surfaces is part of the learning experience.

The project is clearly not the usual approach to landscape design, however the result is a garden that caters for the fragility of families with developmentally delayed children. People visibly relax on entering the garden and become at one with their children and the environment. The garden also contributes to the ambience of the therapy rooms in the flanking clinic.

The Champion Centre’s multi-disciplinary therapy programme is a world leader, and this magical garden is an inspiration for preschool playgrounds everywhere. .
LANDSCAPE DESIGN COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL/INSTITUTIONAL

SILVER

THE PALMS MALL -ENTRY PLAZA Boffa Miskell Ltd.

A subtle arrangement of space and sophisticated detailing has transformed the entry forecourt of the Palms shopping mall into a genuine destination for the community of Shirley

The brief was for a functional yet eye-catching landscape where people could go to eat and relax at the main pedestrian entry point to this large mall and cinema complex. Boffa Miskell have responded by creating a public node for Shirley, a site for commercial exchange and gathering, an attractive and functional high-use area where safety, comfort, shelter, circulation and vandalism have all been allowed for. They have avoided the superficial scenography and the patronising motifs often found in such places and have created an entry court with real class.

The site is flat, but a raised level creates a curving terrace for the food outlets to open out onto, This change of level is part of the success as it enables a ring of outdoor tables to sit comfortably and overlook the main plaza and its circulation routes. Boffa Miskell have exploited the change of levels with clever use of walls, steps and ramps. The usually blank exterior wall of a mall has been broken down, and the café culture is taken outside with tables set off the entry to the mall like an eddy in the current.

The main pedestrian route in and out of the complex is defined by the paving grid and by a break in the grove of olive trees. Traffic calming slows and buffers vehicles from the occupants of the square without removing the interest of passing cars.

Although the retail cycle of a mall is expected to be about ten years before refurbishment, the materials used here are timeless and we would like to think they are sustainable in the long term.

Thorough attention has been paid to detail, with furniture carefully considered to be part of a family. The shape of bollards, bins and lighting poles reflect the dominant curves in the mall entry. The same Timaru bluestone is used throughout, but the finishes on the stone reflect different use areas or elements in the space. Careful attention has also been paid to the connections between the stone, and design thought has gone into the exact cut and shape of every stone in the construction.

In contrast the small creamy yellow stones – epoxied into the tree grates, provide interest and light within the predominant grey of the paving. They are also permeable to allow rain to feed the tree roots as well as providing a hard flush surface for walking.

Tree and groundcover species around the car park were chosen to tie in with dominant tree species used in the local neighbourhood. Olives are used in the mall area to complement the predominant greys of the paving. Plants indigenous to the area such as lancewoods, have been used to partially screen the terrace and these are perhaps a little incongruous in their detail and colour when they are compared to the strength and simplicity of other planting around the site.

The entry court of The Palms is a community gathering point. The mall is located in the suburban neighbourhood of Shirley, but it has become a destination for socialising locals and movie goers from all over Christchurch. The attention to detail and finish has lifted this design above the usual and created a sophisticated community space.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN RESDENTIAL

SILVER

FISHER AND PAYKEL GARDEN Boffa Miskell

With great gusto, Chris Bentley of Boffa Miskell Ltd. has created a landscape ablaze with a riot of texture, colour and diversity, which provides a dramatic setting for the Fisher and Paykel (Healthcare) center in South Auckland. An exuberance of Pacifica flourishes laid out in the style of Roberto Burle Marx on the grandest of garden scales and with a core ethic of environmental responsibility.

This design comprises a large-scale, park-like landscape redevelopment for the Fisher and Paykel Healthcare facility in Waiouru Road, South Auckland. The site is located on the north-eastern corner of the Waiouru peninsula, on softly undulating rural peatlands, criss-crossed and creased by waterways of varying stature.

Boffa Miskell’s brief has been to liaise with the client, engineers and architects and to develop a comprehensive, quality commercial landscape redevelopment for the 45 hectare greenfield property. The design involved input on the building placement, access roading and carpark layout, stormwater collection and processing (via the introduction of a large retention pond including boardwalks and stony beaches,) extensive planted beds and lawns, pathways and internal courtyards to the main buildings.

The 1 hectare pond constitutes a serious exercise in sustainability, with reticulating storm water, a litter trap, absorbent boom, sediment trap and cleansing wetland.

Chris Bentley from Boffa Miskell’s Auckland office has designed an extensive garden which exceeds the level of design normally found in light industrial developments. This ‘garden’ sets new standards, and raises the bar in terms of bringing an idea to fruition in such a successful way.

A high quality landscape environment has been achieved by developing simple, strong and inherently reliable hard works juxtaposed with large and boldly planted areas. Seating, decks, steps and paths are deliberately not elaborate, but work well in this very large ‘garden’ environment.

The result is an excellent response, introducing an accessible human scale to a huge sprawling building complex, both outside and within, through a series of small internal courtyards splashing colour into the very heart of the vast building footprint

Outside, the success has been achieved through a carefully articulated spatial layout created by an extensive sinuous path network, allied with planted beds conceived as if by the painterly sweep of a brush on canvas. The varying ‘drifts’ of species within these beds are very striking in their texture and colour - there are unashamedly, shades of Roberto Burle Marx here. Plant species chosen are massed in such a way as to create a pseudo sub-tropical mix, the aim being to celebrate the site’s location in the South Pacific rather than just using a purely local native palette. A decision in places to use miniature and variegated forms of otherwise well known native plants has worked well, the brighter and contrasting colours and textures address the scale of the built structures and the open nature of the wider landscape well. This provides a great deal of interest and excitement in an otherwise relatively treeless landscape scheme.

It could almost be described as a 2-dimensional design (no slur intended), an artwork that has jumped off the canvas and come to life.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY

GOLD

MEADOWBANK SCHOOL ENVRONMENTAL TRAIL. Boffa Miskell Ltd - Sarah Collins

The Meadowbank School Environmental Trail has transformed a weedy overgrown gully and rubbish tip into an attractive teaching resource, totally in harmony with the local ecology. The involving process and commitment to its creation will also ensure its sustainability.

Meadowbank Primary School in the Auckland Suburb of Meadowbank is divided in two by a perennial stream gully. Sarah Collins of Boffa Miskell became involved as a parent in refurbishing the banks of the small stream, which splits the school in two – a junior campus and a senior campus. She and fellow parent, Nicki Elmore - also national co-ordinator of the ‘Trees for Survival project’ - led the creation of a major teaching resource within the school, which should become a model for environmental teaching for the country.

The site’s previous use as a rubbish dump, its steep slopes and a collapsed rock retaining wall meant the area was out of bounds to children. Sporadic attempts to tidy it up had resulted in trees being planted without any overall sustainable vision.

Development began with the removal of major tree weeds. Steps down into the space, a rock and concrete ampitheatre ((utilising rock material from the collapsed wall to form a teaching gathering space), and specialist teaching spaces were constructed by landscape contractors. An extensive pathway system constructed in part by PD gangs runs through the site, connects both sides of the stream, the teaching spaces and provides an alternative route between the school campuses and a circuit through the site.

Planting is designed along general ecological principles, however allowance is made for the children who carefully nurture kowhai seedlings within the planting. Over 900 plants were planted in one day by the school and the wider community, including local members of Forest and Bird. Children have an ongoing involvement in maintenance and happily form bucket lines to spread mulch donated by local arborists.

Further understorey and stream side planting is proposed. Further research on the stream ecology is also planned.

The school integrates environmental education into the curriculum. A specialist teacher is employed for two days a week and she and other staff utilise the stream environs for maths, social studies, arts, technology and language. Sustainable practices have been set up throughout the rest of the school and include hydroponics, vegetable garden, flowers, worms, ‘Trees for survival’ and composting.

Extensive liaision with the wider community, including local politicians, for funding and support from the community and a new principal, has resulted in an under-utilised resource (or liability) being developed into a major environmental education resource. This resource is not only an integral part of the school environment and a hub of learning, but it is also part of a public walkway (with the blessing of the school) and a wonderful weekend playground for neighbourhood children.

Meadowbank School’s commitment to developing this area created a sustainable resource and a blueprint for environmental education in schools throughout the country.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY

GOLD

OKEOVER STREAM Jeff Weston

Jeff Weston has orchestrated a brilliant team and restored a previously shunned stretch of waterway within the grounds of the University of Canterbury, close to the level of thoroughness that only nature can better. This waterway enhancement sets new standards of environmental improvement and habitat creation, and proves that even in the most urban of settings a place for nature can be found.

Okeover Stream is one of three streams that run through the grounds of the University of Canterbury. The objective of this project is to create a self-sustaining urban ecosystem, through innovative restoration techniques. It is proposed that endemic freshwater species, in particular the rare and threatened Canterbury Mudfish will be released into this restored habitat.

There is an obvious complete commitment to the research, trialling and re-creation of an ideal habitat for freshwater species. A holistic team approach has been taken, utilising the top experts in their respective fields and a wealth of enthusiastic student help. There is a clear passion and drive from all involved that this restoration is successful. A serious approach and a long-term commitment to ensuring as ‘natural’ a job as possible is evident in all aspects.

A ‘soft’ engineering approach has been used here to create a stream environment that is as near to nature as possible. The intent that nature eventually takes more and more control of the form of the stream is a sensible sustainable approach. Deep, slow moving water (the mudfish’ habitat), has been ingeniously created only after much careful study of nature, and a team-based design process. A manipulation of the nature of the stream has been successful through the use of bank re-profiling, subtle weirs and gabions. Creating this sort of habitat is something that is not easy to achieve in such a narrow stream as this, and must be commended.

It is clear that in time the associated in-stream simple and practical detailing such as the rock bank toes, and gabion structures will be overgrown by the rapidly colonising vegetation – as it already has in the two year old Engineering Pond downstream, cleverly converted from a muddy stagnant pond into a lush wetland with a flowing stream.

It is appreciated that the ‘terrestrial’ hard detailing is simple, strong, practical and natural looking to complement the naturalising of the stream rather than fight it for recognition. A responsible and thorough approach to protecting the ecology of the area is clearly evident through the use of non-treated timber and non- galvanised steel coatings.

The streambanks have been densely planted and well mulched and use the most ‘correct’ sequence of indigenous species as nature would have intended here. The planting is very healthy and is now showing signs of regeneration, the idea being to become self-sustaining and so reduce or obviate the need for maintenance. The team’s plans to start introducing in-stream plants to the actual waterway are a further commendation of the success of the stream works and the desire to create as complete an ecosystem as possible, in this very urban setting.
LANDSCAPE DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY

BRONZE

ARA HARAKEKE – THE FLAX PATHWAY, Andrew Gray, John Hudson and Robin Gay.

Ara Harekeke or the flax pathway is a walkway/cycleway that provides a safe and sustainable alternative to the car for a wide range of users. Ara Harakeke is an excellent concept and an admirable stimulus to encourage people out of their cars, onto the walkway, and into the community. It is even more admirable that much of its construction was achieved by utilising an existing resource and recycling waste material.

Porirua City Council and Wellington Regional Council studies identified that there were few opportunities for cycling or walking in the area. They asked the project landscape architects to work with key stakeholders to fit a pathway into a narrow area between the new highway alignment and the swamp, without adversely affecting the swamp. Ara Harekeke is a 5 kilometres long pathway that runs between Plimmerton and Pukerua Bay and lies alongside a recently developed expressway section of State Highway 1. The pathway is located either on or adjacent to the original road, crosses several streams, and skirts the edge of the ‘Taupo Swamp’ wetland, before winding up the valley to the saddle of Pukerua Bay.

1.6 kilometres of the old road has been included in the pathway, and elsewhere road material has been recycled as base course material (It is perfectly adequate for the pathway, but did not meet the specs for the new roadbed, so would have been trucked a considerable distance to be dumped). By combining the construction of the pathway with the construction of the highway, $60,000 in road construction costs was saved. This money was reallocated to the pathway project. Additionally the pathway is located over underground services where there are planting restrictions.

The walkway has an even easy grade which has been achieved by paying careful attention to alignment. Traffic noise has also been considered and where possible physical or visual buffers have been installed between the pathway and the road from it.

The proximity of the roadway either adjacent to the swamp or adjacent to regenerating bush was considered, and additional planting has been carefully detailed to reflect adjacent vegetation or to provide visual stimulus to users of the pathway.

Ara Harekeke is dedicated to both cyclists and pedestrians and is obviously already a huge success. User experience will only improve over time as weeds are eradicated and the planting matures.

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