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. 

Moving forward together

The situation with Covid-19 continues to evolve, and so does our response. A summary of the current Isthmus approach to minimising the risk of transmission in our studios is outlined below. We anticipate updating these guidelines throughout 2022 as the situation changes.

All visitors must have a current vaccination certificate to enter an Isthmus studio.

Vaccinations are the most important control measure against contracting and transmitting Covid-19 and contribute significantly to keeping our employees, their whānau and our wider Isthmus community safe. Meeting virtually via Teams will always be offered as an alternative for anyone unable to provide a vaccination certificate, or anyone self-isolating, awaiting a test result, experiencing possible symptoms, or at higher risk. 

We require all employees to hold current vaccination certificates to come into the studio at Red and Orange level settings. Early in 2022, with full involvement from our employees, we plan to conduct role risk assessments to understand whether we will require roles at Isthmus to be carried out by vaccinated employees only. 

Other Measures

The studio QR code is displayed at studio entry points and in meeting rooms. Everyone entering the studio must scan in.  

Hand sanitiser should be used on entry and exit and is also positioned at other locations through the studio for regular use. 

Everyone in the studio should try to maintain 1m distance from others at all times.  

Please consider mask use where 1m distancing isn’t possible, in larger meetings or if you are at higher risk.  

We will open doors and windows wherever possible for ventilation. 

No one should enter the studio while experiencing possible Covid-19 symptoms.  

At Red level of the Covid Protection Framework, larger meetings and employee travel to or from studios in will only happen where it is essential to project outcomes. 


Move to Queen.

Into the heart of Tāmaki.

In May this year we made the decision to leave our Sale Street studio. Guided by our belief in an Aotearoa Urbanism, we have chosen to move our Tāmaki Makaurau studio into the heart of the city. In early 2022 we will be relocating to 246 Queen Street.

We have designed the new studio as a vessel for the creative process. The space will be physically open, fluid and flexible to enable agile project collaboration. Projects are the engine of the studio—the dynamic space will resonate with the energy of teams working on ideas across Aotearoa. The new studio will be a space to grow and deepen our partnerships and collaborations.

The move will also help us to accelerate our carbon-zero goals; the central location offers easy access by public transport and the refurbished building has shared bicycle parking and energy efficient systems.

We closed the doors on the Sale Street studio Friday last week. Covid will delay the fit-out for our new space so we will continue to offer our service by working from home and centrally located ‘pop-up’ spaces. If you need to deliver something or see us physically in this interim period, please contact us and we will advise a best address.

We look forward to welcoming you to our open studio in early 2022.

Unique and ambitious.

Tactical master planning in Timaru

Last week Timaru District Council announced that Isthmus Group has been appointed to lead a 19-year multi-million-dollar plan to redevelop Timaru’s town centre. 

In collaboration with Gap Filler—a placemaking social enterprise—we will deliver an evidence-based master plan. Through a range of events and trials we will help people experience future ideas so they can be better informed about the long-term design proposals. 

“Isthmus/Gap Filler were selected based on their proven track record on relevant projects around New Zealand, good depth of experienced staff and having the project team leaders based in Christchurch enabling easy access to Timaru”— Timaru District Council. 

Timaru District mayor Nigel Bowen said a key aspect of the proposal was our demonstrated ability to bring the community on the journey to get behind redevelopment projects. 

We are really pleased to be part of this project, helping a city that is backing itself by testing and enabling the untapped potential of the town and the bay. This is a unique and ambitious brief—a special opportunity to meaningfully evolve public spaces to catalyse investment and draw people in. We are urbanists and aim to be pioneers in our approach to community participatory design for towns and cities from Northland to Southland. 

Read more in the Timaru Herald

Talk—Auckland Climate Festival

Future Neighbourhoods:
Sustainability as wellbeing in a new generation of suburb.

On the 27th of October—alongside Kāinga Ora and AUT—we will be discussing the regeneration of our existing suburbs for the wellbeing of both planet and people, looking at examples within Auckland Housing Programme.

How can we ensure the mauri of our wai returns, and create an urban ngāhere? Why is the way we design streets so important? What carbon-neutral construction and waste minimisation practices are being implemented in the delivery of warm, dry, healthy homes? and how will we know if our communities are actually better off when these huge projects come to completion?

Auckland Climate Festival is an open platform bringing together communities, the private sector, government, youth and Māori across Tāmaki Makaurau as a coordinated response.

In its inaugural year the festival brings these actors together to enhance collaboration, harness collective energy and build climate action at an individual and societal level.

Join us by registering for Future Neighbourhoods: Sustainability as wellbeing in a new generation of suburb here.

Find out more, and explore the festival programme at

Eleven Designers Promoted

Yesterday, at a virtual studio meeting, we announced the latest round of promotions. This was the largest group that we’ve ever had, with eleven individuals from our studios in Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara recognised for their growth, and stepping up to new opportunities and challenges.

Graduate to Intermediate

Hannah joined us straight out of VUW in 2019; she jumped straight into complex infrastructure projects where her creativity has consistently shines through. Hannah is a confident communicator steadily deepening her cultural sensitivity. Always with a smile, Hannah continues to contribute and grow as an essential member of the Isthmus whānau. Miharo e hoa!

Abigail was born in the Philippines, grew up in Aotearoa and went on to study architecture. As a graduate she quickly became a very safe pair of hands contributing to multiple projects across the studio. With a hunger for knowledge Abi always asks good questions, keeping our design leaders on their toes. Abi sits on the NZIA branch committee and has entered a number of design competitions.

Salva was born in Afghanistan, schooled in New Zealand. As an architect she has a passion for design that positively impacts the community and has contributed to many regeneration projects within the Auckland Housing Programme. Outside work Salva tutoring migrant and refugee students in her community.

Harriet models our values in everything she does. Thoughtful and engaging, Harriet’s enthusiasm and intuitive eye for graphics and presentation make her a much sought after team member. She has quickly established a reputation for impeccable, high-quality delivery.

Intermediate to Senior

Sophie studied landscape architecture at the University of Edinburgh, and since third year dreamed of living and working in Aotearoa. Her vision and tenacity eventually paid off. Since joining us as a graduate Sophie has contributed to the design of schools, playgrounds, parks, waterfronts and transport infrastructure. She is working towards NZILA registration, and has just purchased her first home, at Hobsonville Point.

Brennan moved from the USA to Aotearoa and got two jobs. He worked half his time at Victoria University of Wellington, teaching in the landscape architecture programme, and half at Isthmus. Since he’s been full-time in the studio Brennan has been immersed in a space between theory, technology and design practice. Brennan is now stepping into a project management roles, his positive, can-do attitude appreciated by clients and colleagues alike.

Michael joined us in 2014 as a fresh landscape architecture graduate; his journey has seen him be challenged across many projects, spending time deep in suburban regeneration and across detailed design packages. Mike’s detail focus and strong eye for a quality-built outcome comes in very useful with solving tricky construction issues.

Aaron has grown in confidence and knowledge since he joined us as a graduate in 2016. An architect by qualification, his first big project was detailing the award-winning pavilion at North Kumutoto. Aaron has helped to design multiple cycleways in Pōneke and is currently part of the Te Ara Tupua alliance, bringing a considered approach to design and a thoughtful attitude. Outside work Aaron is very active in the community and is studying te reo. Ka rawe Aaron!

Hew was born in Malaysia, and grew up in Aotearoa. She embraces every project with passion, commitment and rigour. Over her five years at Isthmus Hew has worked on many of our largest residential master planning projects. She is actively involved in the wider architectural profession, holding a portfolio on the NZIA Auckland Branch committee as well as finding the time to enter multiple design competitions.

Senior to Associate

James joined us as a graduate with a positive, can-do attitude. With a passion for technology James looks beyond the project in order to understand the context and the wider opportunity, guided by his strong moral compass. He has worked extensively on active modes projects around Pōneke (including some challenging public engagement) and is key to our work for Kāinga Ora in the region. James has commitment, drive and the ability to draw the best out of everyone.

Tessa is totally committed, incredibly organised and maintains a steady presence within the studio. Her contribution to our culture, health and safety network and design discussions mark her out as an emerging leader within Te Whanganui a Tara studio. Tessa understands what it takes to gain support for a project, from initial ideas to the realities of funding and decision making. Her mentoring presence, tenacity for quality outcomes, and ability to grow relationships are all recognised in this promotion.