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Auckland’s new Ferry Basin revealed

A vision of an accessible waterfront neighbourhood that prioritises people is driving efforts to transform downtown Auckland. In just three years Auckland’s waterfront will look dramatically different. The Downtown Programme will create a generous and welcoming destination along the water’s edge that better connects people to the Waitematā Harbour and turns the Quay Street area into a more vibrant destination.

Working closely with Council, Auckland Transport and other stakeholders, Isthmus are designing a new water’s edge public space, as well as a ferry terminal with six new berths. Combined with the enhancement of Quay Street (by LandLAB) this exciting new waterfront destination will accommodate growing numbers of people in the city centre who need more space to move, rest and play.

“The design of the dramatic changes afoot will reflect our unique Auckland identity and celebrate our place in the world,” says Councillor Chris Darby.

Park(ing) Day 2018

PARK(ing) Day is celebrated globally when citizens, artists, activists and designers collaborate to temporarily transform metered car parking spaces into PARKs, sparking conversations about how our streets could become better ‘human habitats’.  

This year a keen team from Isthmus’ Auckland studio partnered with three Unitec Landscape Architecture students to lay claim to a carpark in lower Queen Street, intent on getting people to think about how they play in Auckland’s central city. Play is fundamental to how we experience cities, impacting how we enjoy the spaces we inhabit

PARK(ing) Day presents an opportunity to highlight the disparity between the amount of street space provided for cars compared to people, and to initiate conversation about how we play in the city centre. The team asked passersby to explore their associations with the word “park”, inviting them to identify on a map where they ‘park’ (i.e. arrive in the city by car, via public transport, or bicycle) and where they ‘park up’ (relax in the city). This encouraged people to think about the city spatially and their experience within it. While considering this, an apple was offered, representing a moment of pause to reflect on where they as individuals chose to play or find respite in the city. The apple became a metaphor to invite them to reflect and take their own opportunities to pause.

The outcome was a map dotted with pink and yellow stickers illustrating how people use the city. The placement of these stickers told a story but perhaps richer still, was the conversations that occured (with apple in hand) about the city we live in. Even in the busy and fast-paced environment of lower Queen Street, people embraced the opportunity to spend a moment to speak about the spaces they enjoyed spending time in, as well as the spaces they did not

Our hope is that the conversation continues; how could Auckland’s streets better meet the needs of the people?

The Isthmus team was Charlotte Warren, Matt Jones, Dale Harrop and Greer Oliver.
NZILA connected us with three Unitec students: Alex Luiten, Ge Shi and Yue Yu.

Rotorua Lakefront funded

Rotorua’s lakefront is both magical and mystical. It is steeped in the history of Te Arawa and forms the city’s civic soul. The lake’s scalloped bay forms, the history of migration, stories connecting the lake and the land and the beautiful love story that embraces Mokoia Island all go into creating the conceptual framework for Rotorua’s new lakefront.

The design re-orients the movement along the natural arc of the bay as a tracing of the movement of human and mahinga kai species as they move along the waters edge. The concept aims to feed the souls of the residents, and inspire visitors. It builds on what is Rotorua.

Developed in consultation with Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa Lakes Trust, the design has been guided by the Rotorua District Council’s steering group and a project advisory group alongside the team’s cultural design co-ordinator.

Yesterday the Government announced that Rotorua will receive $20million from the Provincial Growth Fund for the lakefront to match the $20m allocated by council. The grant will help fund several developments including a play area, new boardwalk, car parking, a new wharewaka, lakeside terraces and buildings to house cafes and restaurants.

Best Design Award 2018 Winners

The Design Institute of New Zealand’s annual Best Design Awards took place on Saturday night at the Viaduct Events Centre. The fast-paced event covered all aspects of design incorporating categories from graphic and product through to spatial design.

Isthmus filled a table with designers and collaborators, plus of course our clients from Auckland Council, Wellington City Council and HLC. This year we received awards for three projects in four categories:

North Kumutoto Pavilion won a Gold Pin in Public and Institutional Spaces.

Hobsonville Habitat Markers won a Silver in Exhibition & Temporary Structures.

Freyberg Place & Ellen Melville Centre won a Silver in Public Good and was also a Finalist in Public and Institutional Spaces. 

The Best Awards is always a big night – apparently more than a thousand entries were submitted this year. It’s refreshing to see our work not only amongst our peers in the architecture world, but also in dialogue with a whole range of design disciplines.

Timber Design Award winner

The Kumutoto Pavilion on Wellington’s waterfront won the Exterior Innovation category at the 2018 Timber Design Awards last night.

The Pavilion is composed of a matrix of 9,860 cedar battens that laid end-to-end would stretch from the Wellington to Lower Hutt. The builidng anchors the North Kumutoto public space and offers shade and an invitation to rest. The effect is of the mass of timber is lightless, not weight; the form hovers lightly overhead before cascading down the pavilion edge in a move that preserves unobstructed views of Wellington’s harbour.

The texture, form and placement of the pavilion abstracts the characteristics of our much loved coastal tree – the pōhutukawa – reinforced through the pavilion’s crafted steel support structure that splays clear of a community dining table. This is a place for people to gather where the land meets the sea.

Accepting the award our client Mike Faherty from Wellington City Council spoke of the collaboration behind the project and shared an African proverb;

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

We extend our thanks to the whole team that worked to develop, design and build this project, and offer our congratulations to all the other Timber Design Award winners.

Small. Smart. Affordable.

With New Zealand – and particularly Auckland – suffering from a housing affordability and space problem, Andre de Graaf sees small homes as the answer to many of the questions being raised. He tells Idealog’s Georgina Harris about the benefits of small homes and why they should be seen to be desirable for reasons other than just affordability.

Read the conversation in the Thinking section of our website: