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Te Pā Harakeke

Boffa Miskell

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  • NZILA Category Winner Play Spaces — 2024

Te Pā Harakeke is a transformational project that has returned a modified landscape to one that is more natural and representative of its setting. The project re-imagines how play interacts with the natural environment. Spaces are laid back and informal, responding to the coastal character of the place. Structures and play features borrow their design and materiality from the coastal vernacular creating a seaside destination, a unique place for recreation and play. Environmental outcomes were fundamental to the design process, and guided the spatial layout and features of the park. Coastal inundation is a key feature of the park, sea level rise an element expected and prepared for within the design. Plant palettes are simple and specific to the site, coastal palettes introduced as part of the remodelling of the topography. We explored the synergy between recreation and restoration resulting in truly unique destination. The strong environmental focus is in keeping with it’s sensitive ecological setting. A network of low lying estuarine flats an extension of the Waimea Inlet, returning part of the site to its historical form. These low-lying areas will be periodically inundated at king tides, continually moulding the shape and altering the character of the park & celebrating the dynamic nature of coastal environment.

This large, naturally focussed play and discovery space draws from its natural environment, on the fringe of the Waimea estuarine inlet in the centre of the Tāhunanui recreation reserve, for design inspiration and the activities it provides. In providing this natural aesthetic, it also integrates stormwater management, sea level rise and the well known Nelson model railway in a way that retains the playful, natural identity.

The play and discovery elements are well arranged, very well resolved, use well considered natural materials but also allow users of the space to create their own elements as well as blurring the line between the created play and the natural landscape. Throughout the site the experience varies in a well compiled way from intense, organised play spaces, to observation and education places, to natural areas that flow into the surrounding landscape.

This project is a fine exemplar of landscape architecture in terms of design ability along with nature and place making for the community to interpret.

Boffa Miskell Limited and Nelson City Council

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