Subscribe for updates

Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham.

Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham, Stage 1 of the Evans Bay Cycleway, is complete and quickly becoming a much-loved extension to Wellington’s already impressive waterfront.

We’ve been working closely with Welllington City Council and AECOM to design safe off-road cycle and pedestrian path around the coastal edge that celebrates Ōmarukaikuru’s unique sense of place and significant sites along the harbour edge. This has involved connecting the intermittent sections of seawalls and creating a lower path with gathering spaces, lookout areas and access to the water. Emphasising Ōmarukaikuru / Point Jerningham as a place to pause and reflect, and to enjoy the harbour.

The design features several lookout structures, coastal access points, seating and other bespoke furniture items. A simple and rustic material palette of precast concrete for the structures, exposed aggregate and asphalt to give clear cues for users of the paths, and corten steel for the feature structures is softened by hardwood timber inlays and hardy planting.

Of note are the faceted modular precast retaining or ‘transition wall’ units, which draw on the forms of the natural rock formations of the coast below and provide vertical separation between the paths and lookout areas. The dramatic pattern you see emerging was created through the careful choreography of 11 different precast blocks.

Previously, access down to the water and rocks involved jumping a fence. Now, new seating platforms encourage access, in a way that is sympathetic to the existing rock-forms and sized to be penguin-proof.

The new seaward pedestrian and cycle path forms part of the Tahitai (one tide, one journey) route that, once complete, will connect the city to Te Motu Kairangi (Miramar Peninsula). We are proud to be involved in a project that brings together the area’s natural history, it’s cultural significance to mana whenua, and safe transport routes for people of all ages and abilities.

Te Waipounamu Studio Opens.

Nau mai haere mai, ki te whare o Isthmus!

The doors of our Te Waipounamu shop front studio are open. Isthmus designed and built the shopfront fit-out, which was blessed in late October by Te Marino Lenihan (NgāiTūāhuriri, Ngāti Huirapa, Te Horomaka).

If you are passing by you might notice the mauri stone that sits at the front door. This stone was chosen from the high tide line at Te Onepoto/ Taylor’s Mistake by our Isthmus whānau, and the name Tupuwhenua was gifted by Te Marino, which symbolises growing of the land in order to prosper, but also to the placenta, from which new life sprouts. Tupuwhenua holds the mauri of our space and the positive energy of our team and our visitors.

As an Aotearoa design studio, our expansion into Te Waipounamu enables us to grow our potential and expand our reach—improving relationships between Land, People and Culture.

You can now find us at 227a High Street, Christchurch.

Drop by, we would love to see you.

Cadness Apartments.

Safe As Houses

The Cadness Apartments are a new architectural development within the Northcote Master Plan. The project, which was completed in January 2020 a month ahead of schedule, creates 16 new high quality, warm and dry homes for a vulnerable section of the population.

The apartment design maximises solar gain in living areas and creates open and flexible living spaces for residents. The homes are sunny, well insulated and ventilated, and provide a great balance between privacy and outdoor living spaces.

Kāinga Ora’s mandate to deliver low maintenance, robust and value-for-money home has been satisfied through simple and elegant design, careful material selection and the use of off-site manufactured building technology as well as cross-laminated timber.

Our architects, landscape architects and urban designers worked together with the client, local schools, mana whenua and key community groups to design and deliver this multi-faceted visionary project.

Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One Shared Path.

Te Ara Tupua is the highly anticipated harbour-side walking and cycling link between Wellington and Lower Hutt. The name Te Ara Tupua, gifted by the Taranaki Whānui, reflects the creation story of Te Whanganui a Tara—the story of Ngāke and Whātaitai, the tupua that created the harbour and its landforms.

The 4.5km long Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One section of the shared path will be built on the harbour’s edge from Ngā Ūranga Interchange to Honiana Te Puni Reserve in Pito-One, connecting to the Pito-One to Melling section that’s currently under construction.

The shared path features a new bridge over the railway and six ūranga (landings) at key sites along its length which provide areas for coastal planting, habitat creation, and gathering, recreation and viewing areas.

Director of Regional Relationships at Waka Kotahi, Emma Speight says. “Te Ara Tupua will be a stunning addition to the Wellington Harbour coastline and create a step change in the number of people choosing to walk or bike between Wellington and the Hutt. It will make State Highway 2 and the Hutt rail line more resilient and provide the ability to adapt to sea level rise.”

By providing a safe, attractive 5m wide path, separated from motorised traffic, the Ngā Ūranga ki Pito-One shared path will make it possible for more people to try new and active ways of getting between Lower Hutt and Wellington.

As well as providing a safe way to walk and cycle, the design for this crucial infrastructure corridor features new seawalls and rock embankments (revetments) to help protect the transport corridor from the damaging effects of storms, as well as providing habitat for fauna and flora.

The design protects and enhances sensitive land and sea ecologies, adding new offshore habitat for seabirds to offering undisturbed roosting places.

Designed in partnership with Taranaki Whānui, this will be the first Waka Kotahi project considered under the new fast-track consent process, with applications to be lodged this month. Construction is expected to begin in mid-2021 and take approximately three years to complete.

Downtown Ferry Terminal Takes Shape

We are excited to see Auckland’s new downtown ferry berths are rapidly taking shape, as explained in a brand new video produced by Auckland Transport (below).

Funded by AT and designed by Isthmus Group this is one of the most significant projects in the Downtown Programme and will transform the way ferry services operate on the Waitematā Harbour. The public space combined with new and upgraded ferry infrastructure represents a comprehensive revitalisation of the city centre’s land and water interface.

Eric van Essen, Programme Director of the Downtown Programme says “this development will help set Auckland up well for the future. Currently we have six million people a year traveling through the existing terminal at Queen’s Wharf, and that number is expected to increase by up to 50% in the next decade.”

The new ferry infrastructure, which will be ready to use in 2021, has been designed to enable the thousands of Aucklanders who will commute to the city centre to do so safely and efficiently. It will include six new berths stretching along Queens Wharf, with magnificent canopies covering the gangways.

Councillor Chris Darby, Chair of Planning Committee comments on the magnitude of this project and the benefits it will bring to Aucklanders. “The scale of this new ferry terminal is impressive; this will be the biggest upgrade to Auckland’s ferry infrastructure in more than 100 years.

For more information on the Ferry Terminal project and other city centre projects visit Progress AKL.

Middlemore Hospital Tiaho Mai Acute Mental Health Unit.

In recognition of mental Health Awareness Week we are proud to share Tiaho Mai—Middlemore Hospital’s Acute Mental Health Unit. Tiaho Mai is the first building of scale for acute mental healthcare in New Zealand, designed by Klein Architects and featuring courtyards designed by Isthmus.

Tiaho Mai means ‘shining light’, and the rebuild, marks a step-change in designing for mental health in New Zealand—from its co-design approach to salutogenic design principles to its cultural capability.

The three new courtyards deliver light and air right into the heart of a large building, creating a peaceful sanctuary. What was critical, says service manager Wanda Condell, was “a sense of space. With acute mental health episodes, physical boundaries become blurred and confused. It is noticeably calm in the new unit and that has a lot to do with the space and openness.”

The courtyards have been carefully designed to respond to dependency (care) levels of the users, and to give them the agency to choose between different environments in which to spend time. This higher-quality environment enables people to heal sooner and be better prepared.

Serving the communities of Counties Manukau Health (CM Health) in South Auckland, stage one of the new Tiaho Mai opened in 2018, with stage two officially opened in September 2020.


Isthmus Group
Copyright 2017
All rights reserved

43 Sale Street
Freemans Bay
PO Box 90 366
Victoria Street West

+64 9 309 9442

Level 5
56 Victoria Street
PO Box 24116

+64 4 499 9832

227a High Street
Central City
Christchurch 8011

+64 27 55 33 495