NZILA Awards—six Isthmus projects shortlisted.

Six projects shortlisted for the Resene NZILA Awards 2022.
Six projects moving us towards a new Aotearoa.

We are excited to hear that six Isthmus projects have been shortlisted for the Resene New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture Awards 2022. 

Two Tāmaki gems—atop maunga and moana; one Te Whanganui-a-tara coastal pathway; two complex plans for revitalising regions, towns and cities across the motu; and one transformative book—setting a new national standard for a New Aotearoa. 

Congratulations also, to Graduate Landscape Architect Shanika Tuinder for her project ‘Envisioning a Predator Free Miramar’ making it through to the Student category shortlist.

Maungwhau Tihi Boardwalk.
Te Wānanga Downtown Public Space.
Tahitai Shared Pathway.
Napier Landscape Study.
Ngāmotu New Plymouth City Centre Strategy.
Te Tangi a te Manu—Aotearoa New Zealand Landscape Assesment Guidelines. 

Sustainable Business Awards—Finalist.

Isthmus are among 75 finalists announced for the Sustainable Business Awards.

Good businesses operate with a conscience, making sure people involved in or affected by their activities are better off than they would be otherwise. They bring about positive outcomes for the environment and economy. They create change for good for the people and planet around them.  

In 2016—Ralph Johns—our CEO wrote: “We want to evolve our business to be led by a representative and diverse group of talented people. We think that’s good for business, as well as being firmly in line with our values.”  

We are really pleased to be finalists for the Social Impactor awardThis award will be presented to an organisation that is deliberately and consistently improving people’s lives through its day-to-day business practices—one where social good is integrated throughout the whole organisation 

We are committed to closing the diversity gaps that exist in our industry through many interlinked and overlapping initiatives with an environmentally and socially conscious studio culture. We are a founding partner of The Diversity Agenda. The evolution of our business leadership to a representative and diverse group of people began with our Women in Leadership discussion which began in 2016.  

We developed a navigational design tool—Te Kāpehu—to help make conscious choices about how our work can uplift the mauri of people and the environment.  

Engagement with mātauranga māori grew from our purpose: Advancing the relationships between land, people and culture. This kaupapa is core to all our actions. It saw the introduction of Matariki celebrations in 2008 and has become a more strategic focus in recent years. In 2013 we introduced Matariki Day—an extra day of annual leave for all staff.  

With Auckland Council’s He Maunga He Tangata internship programme we provide opportunities for Māori and Pacific Design graduates.  

Our focus on wellbeing comes from recognising and taking responsibility for stress, as one of our industry’s key workplace health and safety risks. We also support and include neuro-diversity and people who are struggling with their mental health.  

Rachel Brown ONZM—founder and CEO of the Sustainable Business Network—says: “The latest IPCC report on climate change has left no doubt about the imperative to change our ways of living and working. Businesses need to step up—their customers, employees and the planet are demanding it. The 75 finalists in these Awards are leading the way. They include corporates, small enterprises and individuals from the public and private sector, showing that whoever you are you can play your part.” 

The winners will be announced on 25 November.

NZILA President Award Winner Gavin Lister.

We are proud to share that Isthmus Founding Principal Gavin Lister has been presented with the NZILA President’s Award for his contribution to the profession of Landscape Architecture through his work in developing the Landscape Assessment Guidelines. 

The inaugural NZILA President’s Awards recognise individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond, who have engaged with a wide range of issues, or who have worked diligently to provide benefits to and for the greater good of the profession. 

Ka pai Gavin!

Te Ara Awataha wins Environmental Leadership Award.

Te Ara Awataha is setting a benchmark for innovative design.

The 1.5km green infrastructure project in Northcote, has been awarded the GHD Award for Environmental Leadership at the 2021 LGFA Taituarā Local Government Excellence Awards and has also been recognised on the International Good Practice Platform, as an exemplar of innovative and collaborative work being undertaken as a response to climate change and rapid urbanisation.

Of the project, the judges said ‘Te Ara Awataha captured our attention for its interweaving of Te Ao Māori, urban design and environmental remediation principles. It is a collaborative piece of placemaking that goes beyond just a physical corridor to employment, social procurement, and educational objectives. A project that demonstrates regard for all four dimensions of well-being.’

Linking Northcote town centre to existing parks, schools, and homes in Northcote, Auckland. Te Ara Awataha is part of the wider urban regeneration of Northcote and seeks to resolve long-standing stormwater issues while creating a valued and resilient environmental asset. The project includes partial daylighting of the Awataha Stream, a shared walking and cycling path, native planting, play destinations, and the integration of cultural design elements.

Te Ara Awataha is being delivered in partnership with Kāinga Ora, Panuku Development Auckland, Healthy Waters (Auckland Council), and mana whenua. The project is currently under construction and will be delivered in stages over the next 6 years.

Best Practice: Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance.

NZPI Best Practice Award for Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance.

Te Ahu a Turanga Alliance has been awarded the prestigious NZPI Best Practice National Award for excellence in consultation and participation from the New Zealand Planning Institute. Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway will create 11.5km of new highway between Ashhurst and Woodville, including six new bridges and structures and the planting of over 2 million trees and shrubs.

At the heart of the nomination was the vital role iwi partnership has played in the planning stages of the project, culminating in a historic ‘first’ – Te Ahu a Turanga is the first major infrastructure project in New Zealand to have iwi involved from the outset, as project partners at a governance level and in roles throughout the Alliance.

We are proud to have played a role in supporting the Cultural and Environmental Design Framework (CEDF) which held the Alliance partnership values and design process including cultural expression throughout the project. This has entailed working closely with iwi kaimahi representatives throughout the design review process to ensure cultural outcomes for the project are upheld and embedded, as well as leading the mahi toi process and co-developing all the cultural physical design elements with the Iwi artists Warren Warbrick (Rangitāne) and Sandy Adsett (Ngāti Kahungunu).

“Te Ahu a Turanga represents a new paradigm for Iwi-Crown relations and provides a pathway to a partnership model for the co-design of infrastructure in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Lonnie Dalzell, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Owner Interface Manager.

Te Ahu a Turanga Manawatū Tararua Highway Alliance includes: Waka Kotahi, Iwi, HEB Construction, WSP, Aurecon and Fulton Hogan. Isthmus are a sub-consultant to Aurecon.

2020 SEGD Global Design Award Winners.

Celebrating connecting people to place.

30 international projects were announced as winners last week in a live virtual ceremony hosted by the Society for Experiential Graphic Design. The SEGD is a multidisciplinary, global community of professionals who create experiences that connect people to place. The winning projects spanned a range of topics, disciplines and verticals, from highlighting the role of technology in addressing injustice in communal workspaces, creating interactive experiences that unearth unconscious biases to material-driven, nature-inspired park placemaking totems. The award-winning designers represented diverse parts of the globe, but what was a common thread for many, was a commitment to use design for the betterment of society.

The jury evaluated projects in seven categories that represent the core of experiential graphic design practice: Digital Experience Content, Exhibition, Interactive Experiences, Placemaking and Identity, Public Installation, Strategy/Research/Planning and Wayfinding. 14 Honor Awards and 16 Merit Awards—spanning the full spectrum of experiential graphic design were chosen from among 340 submissions of experiential graphic design projects from around the world.

“The winning projects have a way of connecting with you. As the jurors moved through hundreds of project submissions, you could see when they came across a project that defined excellence. We were all extremely moved by the intention, care, and focus that was taken to bring these projects to life.” says Traci Sym, Global Design Awards Jury Chair.

Isthmus received a Merit Award for Te Hauāuru Reserve and an Honour Award for the Hobsonville Point Habitat Markers.

“These markers are visually compelling, mixing forms and material beautifully, but it is the exploratory nature of them that I find so inspiring; They are inviting, open-ended, and wondrous, reminding us to be curious, to look closer, to touch—and to focus.”—Jury Comment.




No Boundaries leads to NZIA Recognition

The judges described Kumutoto Pavilion as an ‘edgy little pavilion —playful and allusive, both sculpture and shelter— a welcome addition to Wellington’s urban littoral’, and Freyberg Place as a ‘welcome oasis in the cityscape of downtown Auckland’. 

Isthmus have received two of the nineteen New Zealand Architecture Awards given this year. Both are in the Planning & Urban Design section: Kumutoto Pavilion, and together with Stevens Lawson Architects Ltd in association with John Reynolds the Ellen Melville Centre & Freyberg Place.

Isthmus is an integrated design studio, with a kaupapa that deepens the relationships between land, people and culture. Receiving these awards further boosts our evolution towards becoming a transdisciplinary design studio; both Kumutoto Pavilion and Freyberg Place champion our no boundaries approach to design.

To realise the full potential of every brief we apply design thinking and take an open-minded, inquisitive and interdisciplinary approach. We start without knowing the answer and follow the creative process. Our flexible studio culture incubates ideas; the closer and more collaboratively we work together, the more chance ideas have of spreading, growing, cross pollinating and transforming. We call this way of working ‘no boundaries’ because we think in terms of opportunities rather than constraints. We are outcome focused and not constrained by a specific output. Every project is different, but each follows the same design thinking process, always informed by our kaupapa of land, people and culture.

At the core of our approach is a shared leadership model, a method of harnessing complementary skills, mixing skills and experience, broadening the decision making ability, while retaining clear communication lines to the client team. Providing the client with a stronger and more rounded leadership, as well as more resilient team structure, where particular skills can be harnessed for the project, allowing the client to benefit in the wide skill base need on these complex city spaces.

This recognition —at the highest level— from the NZIA is hugely appreciated and gives us energy in pursuit of our ambition to become Aotearoa’s leading design studio.   

Wellington project wins the Best Team Award

Isthmus were among the seven category winners at the Property Council’s 2019 Wellington Property People Awards last week. We won the Colliers International Best Team Award for our work on the upgraded chimpanzee habitat at Wellington Zoo.

Isthmus, Maltbys, Calibre, Te Mahi, NZCEL, Naylor Love and Wellington Zoo proved a winning combination for the development of Wellington Zoo’s new chimpanzee habitat. The project included creating a habitat and viewing area which allows people to see chimps from a new point of view. The brief was for a stimulating chimp playground that at the same time would allow humans to safely immerse themselves in the fascinating chimpanzee world.

The whole project was one-of-a-kind, from the robust sustainable materials, the tenants, and play-focused design. The project was delivered on time, on budget and has delighted both the chimpanzees and zoo visitors. The Judges remarked on the shared vision of the team, who came together to create an outstanding product that will be an asset to the client, and Wellington, for years to come.

Resene Total Colour Landscape Award

The Kea Enclosure at Wellington Zoo was announced as the winner of the landscape category at last night’s Resene Colour Awards in Auckland.

New Zealand is home to a diverse range of environments which support a stunning array of plants and habitats, each with its own unique combination of species. Part of the He Tuku Aroha (Meet the Locals) exhibit at Wellington Zoo, the walk-through aviary is a place for guests to enjoy the aerial antics of kea as they fly above and interact with their environment.

Kea are endemic to New Zealand and the world’s only alpine parrot; however due to threats from introduced predators and conflict with humans, they are considered nationally endangered in the wild.

The aviary has proven successful with high visitor numbers in the first 6 months. A second aviary accessible through a small hatch allows the Kea to have some quiet time when crowd volumes are too high.

The Isthmus design team undertook extensive research of the elements in the Kea’s natural environment and replicated these learnings within the enclosure. A number of Resene products were specified for the structural steel frame through to timber stains. The exit trap is painted a bright Thunderbird red to contrast with the underlying dark natural tones. Only non-toxic paints were used – the kea love to get their beaks into anything and everything.

Citation: “The robustness of products and colours aptly reflect the nature of the inhabitants, with a pop of colour anchoring a focal point. The diversity and toughness of materials and the depth of the colour palette brings an appreciation for life in the wild.”

Freyberg wins Civic and Arts Property Award

While Isthmus were busy enjoying our annual Matariki night dinner in the studio, across town at the Spark Arena the Property Council Awards were happening. We were excited to hear that, from a long list of finalists from around the country, the Freyberg Place & Ellen Melville Hall project won the Warren & Mahoney Civic and Arts Property Award!

We’d like to congratulate our client Lisa Spasic from Auckland Council who received the award on behalf of the project, and extend our congratulations to the whole team; design partners John Reynolds and Stevens Lawson Architects; consultants Graham Tipene, Beca, Holmes Consulting, Traffic Design Group, eCubed, Arborlab, Plan.Heritage, H20 and MPM Projects; and the contractors JFC Ltd and Corbel Construction.

Freyberg Place & the Ellen Melville Centre offer an open invitation for Aucklanders to inhabit, occupy and claim the space for themselves. Freyberg’s due-north orientation allows for much-needed, sunny and sheltered space in the city; it delivers on aspirations for a vibrant, accessible and liveable city for the people of Auckland.

Three Projects Finalists in the Timber Awards

Three Isthmus projects have been announced as Finalists in the NZ Wood Resene Timber Awards.

The Habitat Markers, a series of interventions along the Hobsonville Coastal Walkway, include solid laminated tōtara blocks that have been CNC routed to create a labyrinth of holes and hollows for birds and insects to make their homes within, and for children to encounter nature.

Integrated into the folded (FSC-certified) purple heart deck of Kumutoto Site 8 a small pavilion offers a human-scaled sculptural landmark along the Wellington waterfront. In both form and texture it is the built interpretation of a large pōhutukawa tree. A matrix of cedar battens, almost 18km worth, hang lightly overhead offering shade and partial shelter for communal eating at the long bench within the shelter.

Touching the land/whenua lightly, the Hobsonville Point Coastal Walkway Bridges curve and give way to the existing trees and the topography. The design offers an enhanced elevated experience, one which conveys the forest canopy. The central deck uses recycled Australian hardwood while on the outer edges a lighter profile of native Totara has been used to weave the handrail detail together drawing on cultural tradition.

The winners will be announced at a dinner in Auckland on 20th September 2018.