LandLAB & Jasmax
Two New Zealand designs have been selected as finalists for the 2019 World Landscape Architecture awards. Jasmax and LandLAB both made the shortlist in the Conceptual category - for Te Whau pathway and Island Motutere respectively.
It’s not the first time the quality of both projects has been recognised - both were also shortlisted in last year’s World Architecture Festival awards.
LandLAB’s design director Henry Crothers told LAA at the time that the concept for Island Motutere came about while the firm was working on a masterplan for Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.
“One of the Viaducts key attributes is its association with water,” he said. “The island is one of a series of ideas we had around how we could reconsider the relationship between the city and the water, and how we could take the principles of tactical urbanism (a way of testing the public’s responses to spaces before you design them) and apply them to situations on and adjacent to the water.”
The idea is the island(s) - you could have more than one - could be positioned in different places around the waterfront and used for different activations, experiences and events. So the Symphony Orchestra could play on it while people were dining at local restaurants. Or it could float off Wynyard Point for a corporate event. The island could be a swimming pool, the deck of a boat or an urban coastal forest. And it could also serve ecological functions with a sub-surface marine ecology that enhances water quality underneath.
Te Whau Pathway, by Jasmax, features 12km of boardwalks and bridges rising above expansive mangroves and tidal flats along the Whau River and connecting the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean.
While the principal part of the brief was to create a commuter pathway between the east coast and west coast running along the western edge of the Whau River, Jasmax quickly saw it was going to be much more than a commuter facility.
“The commuter bit - that was about 20 percent of its actual function,” says Mike Thomas. “We saw it more as a community facility because it’s a labyrinth of cul de sacs and windy roads in that area. To get from one place to another you had to jump in your car and drive for miles on the local road network. Or (with Te Whau Pathway) you could simply drop down to the pathway and walk or cycle along and pop out close to your school or rugby field or place of work.”
This year’s WLA awards attracted over 175 entrants with a diverse range of submissions from across the world.
WLA noted jurors had a hard time judging the entries as design quality was very high and many entries were at same level. One juror also commented, “Reading through all of the submissions was very rewarding, as many of them are quite interesting and educational.”
Winners will be announced next week.