Wānanga 2022.

Wānanga is our annual event to come together, strengthen our connections, celebrate our work, and share ideas. Circumstance has seen that we have not been able to do this since 2019. 

Wānanga 2022 was a special chance to slow down, connect, observe and reflect.  

As we settle back into our studios across the motu—we are taking the time to reflect on a big day spent together in Tāmaki Makaurau.  

An early morning at wharfs-end in the Waitematā was followed by hikoi tracing the path of the Waihorotiu, eventually arriving in 246 Queen—drawing a line under a period of time spent apart, and welcoming a time enriched by togetherness and collaboration. 

Rotorua Lakefront mahi toi.

Rotorua Lakefront continues to grow with the opening of mahi toi designed by local master carver and artist, Lyonel Grant.

Unveiled at a dawn ceremony last Thursday, the mahi toi deepens the connection to Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa heritage, establishing Rotorua Lakefront as an outstanding cultural experience. 

The mahi toi, integrated with the Isthmus landscape design, takes many forms across the lakefront site. Te Toka Māpuna—the seat for contemplation and reflection sits at the Eastern end of the boardwalk. Patterning representing Tokorangi—the twelve heavens of Māori cosmology has been etched into the platform beneath it, utilising an innovative vapour blasting method.  

Three series of pou tumu have been erected reflecting nō namata (ancient times), onāianei (contemporary times) and anamata (future times). 

The half basketball court design is inspired by a Te Arawa centric pattern known as puhoro. The attributes of strength, agility and speed are symbolic in the design and are commonly seen incorporated in moko a tinana thigh patterns and on the underside bows of waka. 

Lyonel, supported by carvers and students of The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts institute (NZMACI) at Te Puia, blended traditional methods and materials with high-tech solutions—furthering the conceptual narrative of past, present and future, says Lyonel. 

“The artwork is special to this area because the inspiration has been derived from actual historical events, using technology as vast as chisels and mallet through to high tech laser cutters to create each series. There is also a fundamental representation of people and whānau. 

“I’m pleased that these works have originated and have been largely crafted locally. I believe that the strength and integrity of the artwork has created aesthetic landmarks that our manuhiri can appreciate and enjoy, and more importantly, I hope they are well received by the locals. 

A new Destination Skatepark for Te Whanganui-a-tara.

Recommendations for $5.64m of capital funding for a Destination Skatepark in Te Whanganui a Tara, Wellington were voted on unanimously by Councillors last Thursday. 

Isthmus is thrilled to have been involved in the feasibility studies for the new Destination Skatepark—proving economic and wellbeing benefits, assessing existing skate provision in Wellington, comparison studies, establishing an engagement collective, and providing a high level concept and cost estimate.  

The preferred location—Kilbirnie Park—supports a community with myriad recreational opportunities and can leverage its local amenity and surrounds. The Destination Skatepark will be an exciting local, regional, and national attraction with the ability to nurture the growing Wellington skate community and host international competitions alike. 

The regional sized park is a huge leap towards Wellington City Council’s vision for a more sustainable, creative, inclusive economic future. Since the debut of skateboarding at the 2020 Olympics, it has seen a huge boost in popularity, especially amongst young women. Te Whanganui a Tara, Wellington is no exception with participation in both skate and scootering growing significantly for youth says Councillor Jill Day. 

The 2021 Children & Young People Strategy asked young people what they wanted, and easy access and provision of skate facilities and places to safely hang out and play were important to them.  

Engagement with community groups established a clear need for a high calibre skatepark—a space for future generations of skater to thrive. Workshops were held down at the site itself, strengthening spatial understanding and potential for the site. 

Seven Designers Promoted.

Graduate to Intermediate

Since joining us Liam has been discovering where he wants to position himself in design—the crossover of urbanism and brand. Liam is a juggler; he is always involved in many projects at once and provides everyone in the various teams the confidence that he will deliver—and he does. Liam is concept driven; he takes a rigorous intellectual approach to what he is doing. Liam’s a natural communicator, regardless of who he is talking to. He is confident in explaining his thinking to clients, and able to read their responses well.  

Kadin joined Isthmus just before the first lockdown in 2020; he has been resilient to change ever since. He’s had an excellent year, working across many projects across the studio, and has continued to grow his knowledge, ability, and delivery. Kadin has a keen interest in 3D modelling and script-writing software and is passionate about bringing digital innovation to his project teams. Kadin has a strong work ethic and willingness to succeed; we look forward to his continued development as a designer and innovator.   

Intermediate to Senior

Ellie studied Landscape Architecture at Lincoln and after a couple of years at Boffa Miskell she joined us in June 2019. Ellie has a passion for Urban Design and a no-boundaries approach to her work.  Ellie has contributed to many projects, spending time deep in suburban regeneration, parks, infrastructure projects.  Her tenacity, curiosity and can-do attitude is appreciated by clients and colleagues alike.   

Tom has an infectious personality and brings humour, laughter and positivity to the Ōtautahi studio. Tom recently got registered as an Architect, but lives happily in the overlap. He is a holistic designer who is honest and humble. He never comes across as being out of his depth or lacking confidence. Tom is excellent at working in cross discipline teams; and across project types/ stages from tactical trials, community engagement, conceptual thinking to detailed delivery.  

Azmon was one of the first Architectural Graduates at Isthmus some 8 years ago, and he has consistently embedded himself in the studio since. Azmon has a passion for ‘making’ and has a heart for designing through a cultural and community lens. In addition to being a talented craftsman, Azmon has strong technical knowledge. Azmon has taken on managing complex stakeholder and sub-consultant teams on his more recent projects and his communication skills have seen him establish a great rapport with clients and consultants.  

Irisbrings a transdisciplinary mindset to all the projects she’s involved in. With a proactive attitude to design, she is inquisitive and eager to learn alongside others and brings an enthusiasm that injects energy into our studio culture. Iris has worked on a range of projects that have been ambiguous and/or new types of work for Isthmus. She has shown curiosity to tackle these types of projects, creatively solving problems, authentically communicating with clients and team, and tenaciously navigating the barriers and challenges these projects have thrown at her.   

Shannon joined Isthmus in 2021.  She brought with her experience in education, residential, interiors and commercial projects, along with a positive frame of mind, can do attitude and a sense of adventure and fun. Shannon has consistently shown a drive to create great outcomes for our clients and their people. Shannon has proven herself to be a safe pair of hands for our clients and their projects, a great collaborator and bring a curiosity to everything she does. Her most recent success is becoming a mum to Freddy. 

Studio 246.

Our Tāmaki Makaurau studio has arrived at Level 6, 246 Queen Street. 

Last year—guided by our belief in an Aotearoa Urbanism—we decided to move our Tāmaki Makaurau studio into the heart of the city. After seven months of being in-between studios, levels and lockdowns our Tāmaki Makaurau studio has arrived at Level 6, 246 Queen Street.

Seven months of working from kitchen benches, bedroom desks and pop-up spaces, has helped evolve a new way of working. For the physical studio to stay relevant it needs to adapt to these evolving behaviours. We know that when we come together, we generate our best work—so our studio has to be a place where our team feel safe and inspired. In an increasingly hybrid world—the studio needs to bring people together and create a community. The studio drives our purpose and helps us align with issues that matter to you and the communities we work for.

246 Queen has been designed to harness this shift, a space that will change according to the people and projects within it. This studio is a space for our clients, collaborators and Tāmaki Makaurau to come together to help shape a New Aotearoa.

We look forward to welcoming you to our new space at 246 Queen.

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.