Testing ground for sustainable design

New Zealand is a young nation still struggling to define its shared identity, proud of its reputation as an uncontaminated land but at the same time aware of the need for important signs of respect for the environment, sustainability and far-sighted use of resources. This introspective mix of past, present and future seems to be the fruit of Wellington’s new waterfront, and Waitangi Park in particular, which makes up about 30% of the entire project.

Reconnecting an important part of the city, for decades used for industrial purposes, with the rest of the urban structure and the sea, inventing new spaces for recreation and sport for different classes of users, enhancing the region’s cultural and natural components through a narrative fabric that meets the needs and expectations of a young, dynamic capital city which has for years been at the top of world rankings for quality of life: these are the objectives that guided Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture’s design for Waitangi Park.

A complex project, supported by the adoption of an innovative design aimed at sustainability and prevention of environmental degradation, which in this perspective redefines and qualifies the very relationship of the city with its sea. 

The park occupies a surface area of almost 6 hectares and is divided into different operational and meaningful areas: the promenade, the central multifunctional space that also contains a play area and a specially designed skateboard area, the large lawn and a highly integrated environmental infrastructure, all permeated by a strong inspiration, almost a superstructure made up of important artistic and cultural references linked to the history of New Zealand, which defines its details and compositional structure.

The WSUD (Water-sensitive urban design) strategy, a multidisciplinary approach to implementing the water cycle in the urban environment combined with a design with high aesthetic qualities, is particularly evident in the recovery and valorisation for the collection and treatment of rainwater of the Waitangi Stream, a long buried watercourse, which now contributes to controlling run-off and storing water for irrigation, before returning it to the natural disposal system.

The new phyto-purification plant also supports a recovery of biodiversity, through the use of native plants grown in the area. The decision to focus on sustainable design thus not only contributes to improving the environment and water quality, but introduces new elements of interest, attraction and involvement, creating a place with a unique character.

Dettagli progetto

Designers: Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Typology: urban waterfront
Built: 2002-2006
Area: 5.8 ha
Client: Wellington Waterfront Limited
Photo Credits: © Enrica Bizzarri

Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture

Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture

As a landscape architectural and urban design practice, Wā endeavors to explore the ways in which cultural, historical and natural processes interact to shape and inform our environment. Their primary focus is the public domain within an urban context, however, they participate in, and contribute to, a wide range of projects of varying scale, complexity and ownership.