Invercargill City Centre Masterplan.

Invercargill’s central city is undergoing substantial and exciting change, with several major building developments well underway. In parallel, Isthmus is working with Council, mana whenua and the community to re-imagine the city’s streets as places for people. The master plan envisages a city to inhabit, enjoy and to be proud of, reflective of Invercargill’s rich cultural history and better connected to its natural environment.

Following Council’s endorsement of the City Centre Master Plan, we are now working on the first step in translating the Master Plan into reality. Aligned with the development of Invercargill Central, HWR Tower, and Langland’s Hotel, Stage 1 of the City Streets project focuses on the reimagining of Esk and Don Streets into beautifully crafted, well-connected streets for people of all ages and abilities; venues for life in the city.

Onwards and Upwards: Six Promotions

Our team continues to grow in breadth and depth; this week we announced the promotion of six designers who have thrived despite the challenges and uncertainty of the past year.

Intermediate to Senior

Oriane is a committed urbanist. She joined us in 2016 from France. Thanks to her intelligence, design talent and organisational skills she has become a well-trusted team member; she always delivers over-and-above expectations. Oriane has amazing vision; she can challenge and stretch a team on complex projects with her ability to perceive the next steps and knock-on effects well in advance.

Ashley lives in the overlap between Architecture, Masterplanning and Urban Design with a huge passion for the people and projects she works on at Isthmus. She never hesitates to take on a challenge or stretch herself. She has proven her project management and team management skills across several Auckland Housing Programme neighbourhoods.

Gabrielle rejoined Isthmus last year ago after taking time out for her OE (back when that was a thing). Gabrielle hit the ground running, embracing every experience as a learning opportunity to broaden her experience and skill set. She has been a key part of the Ferry Basin team as well as numerous other projects.

Ivy started at isthmus in 2016 as an enthusiastic graduate. She brings enthusiasm, curiosity and passion to her work and has developed into a highly trusted and confident team member. Ivy has been working mostly on community regeneration projects within the Auckland Housing Programme; this is a higher purpose that goes right back to her final year thesis.

Senior to Associate

Linda brings a thoughtful, detail-focused approach to everything she does. She goes both deep and wide, seeing the big picture and the smallest detail. In the three years since Linda joined our studio she has worked on community housing projects at all stages. Beyond the studio Linda sits on the Auckland committee of NZIA where she leads the Environmental Portfolio as well as being part of the team that has put on NZIA events including Architecture Week.

Associate to Principal

Travis has been with Isthmus since he graduated back in 2006. Over the years he has gained extensive experience designing, managing and delivering streets, plazas, large-scale parks, sports infrastructure, and skate parks. Travis has supported the studio as it has grown and evolved over the last few years, and is currently a member of our Studio Management Team. With experience Travis has mentored others to do the detailed design that he used to thrive on so that he can see the bigger picture. Travis believes in asking the right questions, and listening—meaningful design input from the client and end users is the key to success.

Cobham Drive Cycleway Opens.

The new 1.4km walking and biking paths along the Cobham Drive foreshore is now officially open after being blessed by Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika.  The ribbon was cut on this important segment of the route around the harbourcrucial link in the wider cycle network. 

This part of the Te Whanganui a Tara coast holds strong connections for mana whenua iwi (Taranaki WhānuiNgāti Toa Rangatira). Taranaki Whānui has worked closely with the project team (made up of Isthmus, Calibre, Tonkin + Taylor and Downer), and Wellington City Council on aspects of the design. They gifted the name Tahitaione tide, one journeyfor the harbour-side walking and biking route around Akau Tangi (Evans Bay) between Miramar and the central city.

The blessing was held at the upgraded beach area beside Evans Bay Marina, where the name Te Awa a Taia features. This was the name for the sea channel between Motu Kairangi islandnow Miramar peninsulaand the mainland. It is thought this channel disappeared in the mid-1400s after a huge earthquake. 

In addition to making Wellington a better place to walk, bike, or skate, this project is helping revitalise this coastal recreation area with landscaping and planting, rock revetment to provide greater resilience along the coastal edge, seating and viewing platforms. A focus on protecting and enhancing areas for wildlife included relocation of grass skink and protection of nesting sites, planting to encourage diverse habitats and ongoing pest management working with Anita Benbrook from WCC as a consultant for coastal planting regeneration.

Isthmus Board appointment

Introducing Danny Tuato'o

When the Board of Isthmus decided to search for a second Independent Director last year we sought a specific combination of skills and experience – a legal background, a deep understanding and connection to Te Ao Māori, and a good understanding of risk management. We found all of those qualities in Danny Tuato’o.

Danny is a descendent of Tiakiriri Kukupa and Te Parawhau, a Whangārei based hapū affiliated to both Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi. Danny brings a grounded approach and a connection to people and whenua from Dunedin to Whangārei, where he lives and works.

Danny’s values POU TOKOMANAWA (backbone – ridgepole of the meeting house), TIKANGA (Purpose. Motivation. Direction), AKO (to learn), MANAWANUI (Big heart), WHAKAPAPA (Connection to place and people—relationships) are a great fit with Isthmus.

Danny has a deep connection to his moana and his whenua; he lives his whakapapa through his work. Married with 4 kids, Danny is an equity partner with a Northland law firm. He is a Board member of Maritime New Zealand and is also the Chair of the Whangārei Heads Landcare Forum (he lives on a lifestyle block at Whangārei Heads which he is replanting in natives).

We are delighted to welcome Danny Tuato’o to our Board. In his own words:

Hei hōnore māku ki te whakauru ai i te whānau o Isthmus, arā, he kaitohu hou.
Its an honour for me to join the Isthmus family, as a new director.

Ehara tāku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini
My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.

RiverLink Open Day.

The second RiverLink open day (for this phase of the project) was held at the Lower Hutt Events Centre last weekend giving the public an opportunity to view the latest masterplan and discuss the project with the client and consultant team. The open day built on the indicative design that was shared with the public last November and revealed more details of what the proposed improvements to Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River will look like and the phases in which the project will be constructed (it will involve at least four years of major construction work).

This phase of RiverLink has been design-led by Isthmus in partnership with the engineers and planners of Tonkin+Taylor, GHD and Holmes Consulting. The design strives to integrate a new grade-separated interchange at Melling (including a new road bridge across the river), improved flood protection (widening the river corridor), enhanced walking, cycling and public transport links, and urban regeneration of key sites on the city edge for residential and commercial use.

RiverLink is a unique project that will transform the relationship between Lower Hutt and the river that it was founded beside, Te Awa Kairangi. The team are working towards finalising the design before applying for designations and resource consents in mid 2021.

About RiverLink
RiverLink is a partnership between Greater Wellington Regional Council, Hutt City Council, and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.  Collectively, the RiverLink partnership is investing over $450 million to revitalise Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River. The project team is also working closely with Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o Te Ika and Ngāti Toa Rangatira as mana whenua to create a more resilient, more connected, more vibrant city.  

The Te Wānanga Design Partnership.

Collaborative Design with Mana Whenua.

Te Wānanga joins other Isthmus projects Kopupaka Reserve and Taumanu Reserve as a Māori Design Case Study on Te Pokapū Whakatairanga Tikanga Māori, Auckland Council’s Māori Design Hub.

Te Wānanga case study outlines the design partnership with mana whenua, which mandated the Kāhui Kaiarataki collective (Māori ecology & design specialists) to collaboratively develop the design of Te Wānanga.

For us, the collaborative design process has not only delivered a more meaningful design but has enabled positive and ongoing working relationships with Mana Whenua. The process of working with mana whenua and alongside the Kāhui group has enabled a deeper understanding and articulation of cultural values at Te Wānanga.

The Kāhui Kaiarataki process included regular studio co-design wānanga with the design team. This co-design process was undertaken kanohi ki kanohi, pokohiwi ki pokohiwi (face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder) in numerous studio and workshop sessions.

Key themes and values were discussed and then developed from concept through to detailed design. All design thinking was presented back to Mana Whenua for feedback in monthly hui.

This approach enabled a stronger recognition and integration of Mana Whenua values and design thinking throughout the programme.

As a result, Te Wānanga incorporates marine and terrestrial habitats to support the restoration of mauri (essence) and place, and to recognise the mana (standing/respect) of Te Waitematā.

To read the full case study click here.

Te Wānanga is currently under construction will be completed by the end of April and open to the public in May 2021, the video below offers an insight into the works taking place on site.