Portfolio

Petone Kiosk

This little kiosk on the Petone foreshore sells snacks and drinks but needed somewhere sheltered and handy for their customers to sit, relax and dine. The area needed to also remain open to the road and welcome visitors to the adjacent playground and through to the beach beyond. The area is extremely exposed and is also in a vandal-prone location so the whole thing required a robust and rustic design and a creative solution for the necessary wind shelter screen. Rebecca Wilson designed 2 curved screens featuring a repeated “Pipi” pattern laser-cut into a Corten steel sheet, and this concept was passed on to artist Artist Roger Thompson from Wairarapa to develop. Roger then developed the design and created two dramatic screens which show a range of quintessential Petone scenes and feature many of the creatures – fish, birds, shellfish and even a Taniwha! –...
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Petone Foreshore

This park is part of an ongoing project with the Hutt City Council for the development of the Petone foreshore. The “Before” images show the site as it was before as an unused, unsightly paddling pool. A major thrust of the design was to reconnect people with the Petone waterfront by reducing the dominance of the seawalls, encourage people to enjoy the park environment and then move down to the beach. Decks flow up and over the seawall with dramatic curving steps down to the sand. These are designed to be used as informal amphitheatres for casual sitting and to recreate in essence the sand-dunes which once would have lined these shores. Details such as the dramatic ”Salute”, the Oar sculptures by artist John Calvert and the “seaweed screen” by local artist Phil Worthington  around the outdoor showers contribute to the sea theme and create spectacular focal points. The planting scheme uses entirely native coastal species, with...
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Korohiwa Bay Beachfront

Much to our delight after our failure to win the design competition for the Korohiwa Subdivision, we were asked to design the beachfront area. This is a wild and windswept beach, largely gravel rather than sand. The gravel expanse seems to grow each year and the whole area was beginning to look pretty inhospitable. The design needed to create areas for people to relax and enjoy this wild end of the bays without dressing it up too much. The decks and boulders create an interesting variety of spaces to sit in and play on, and the materials and forms play with themes of wind and wave-tossed elements. As a windsurfer I have been washed up on this beach a couple of times and the deck forms seem to reflect my appreciation of “wave-tossed elements”! The Wahine Mast has been erected here as a Memorial to...
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Silverstream Retreat

This site had the atmosphere of a run-down scout camp when the present owners took over the place and set about transforming it into a more up-beat conference centre, retreat and events venue. The landscape will be developed in stages and the first stage of this work is now completed – the accommodation wing. This area now features a generous water feature, a variety of casual sitting areas and gardens planted with native trees, shrubs and grasses typical of the upper reaches of the Hutt Valley. The area is designed to be used as a space for relaxing and socialising during breaks in Conferences etc and will function well when the adjacent conference room is opened up to this area as planned in the next stage. Tweet...
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Taita Playground

The Hutt City Council commissioned this design to provide a playground for local pre-school children. The design incorporates a range of rustic structures to encourage creative play and allow the children to invent their own ways to use these elements. The essential slide and swings are also included but designed within structures which allow multi-use. Planting and sculptural pieces complete the atmosphere and appeal to the largely Maori and Pacific Island community. A large, rustic picnic table with built-in seating is located in the central decked area to provide a place for local mothers and children to gather for casual get-togethers and picnics etc. This playground has been most successful with the local community making full use if it. Tweet...
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Muritai School Entrance

A new secondary entrance way to the school was created from the seaward side of the school, incorporating sea-themed, native coastal plant species and locally sourced materials in the paving. Spotty Dog Mosaics oversaw the mosaic work, aided by the schoolchildren.   Tweet...
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Wilton Montessori

A massive fundraising effort by parent and staff made this wonderful outdoor play space possible. A range of custom-built and modular play structures were designed to encourage creative play - a rustic, naturalistic series of sandpits flow through the playground which includes creative features such as an outdoor blackboard, playhut,  murals and a wet play ‘creek’. The lookout tower and mosaic giant sundial make colourful stimulating focal points, and a variety of materials in the paving and structures creates further interest and stimulation. The boundary fence beween the playground and the neighbouring school  now features a mural, blackboard and ”spyholes” for the smaller children to spy on the older children! All great fun. Tweet...
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Labyrinth

This labyrinth, originally built in the beautiful grounds of Frederick Wallis House in Military Road, Lower Hutt, is based on the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral.   Our job as designers was to suggest materials (we strongly felt a tile mosaic was the only appropriate option) and then to select colours and suitable tiles… and then find a way to build it within their tight budget! I rashly suggested getting the Friends of the House to do the tilework so then was entrusted with teaching about 40 people how to do mosaics – and then overseeing the work to control the overall quality and colour gradation theme etc.  The construction of the labyrinth was a massive community project – and many would say a labour of love! – spanning two years and involving dozens of dedicated volunteers plus the specialist skills of many talented people. Engineers and mathematicians, artists and historians, all...
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Porirua Police College

This walkway and the associated sitting areas are an ongoing project to create attractive and relaxing areas along the existing lakeside and stream gully. Stage 1, the walkway, is now completed. This is a memorial walk to commemorate police officers who have been killed in active service. Sitting areas provide a range of semi-private spaces for contemplation and grieving etc, with tranquil views over the lake and bush-covered hillside behind. Native sedges and grasses create a lush, casual and naturalistic backdrop for the area and a buffer zone between the walkway and the road above. Stage 2 involves a memorial service area with a sculptural memorial structure, and Stage 3 incorporates restoration of the original stream above the Memorial Walkway with picnic areas with tables and BBQ’s etc. Tweet...
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Levin Main Street

The redesign of Levin’s main street focused on a range of key areas within the retail shopping zone with consideration also given to the entrance to Levin at each end of the town, and general recommendations for improving the spaces between. The theme was deliberately rustic to develop the feel of a country township, avoiding any attempt to create a civic, central city feel. Materials were chosen to emphasise this theme – namely the use of stone from local river sources, raw galvanized steel on reference to agricultural construction and various pebble concrete treatments.  Native plants typical of the area have been used en masse, combined with selected exotics to celebrate the warm temperate climate Tweet...
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Retirement Village

This development was created for the 55 years and over market – small homes on small sections was a basic requirement stated by the developers. However the repetitive design of the house floor plans were altered to ensure sun and light to the living areas and an attractive small courtyard and garden area for every home. Planting has been used to create appropriate privacy between the individual properties, and to create an attractive, relaxed and intimate streetscape. The use of low, mountable kerbs, minimum-width roading, limited footpaths and varied roading materials encourage slow traffic speeds and the use of the roadway by vehicles, pedestrians and mobility scooters alike. Fencing has been kept to a minimum, with planting providing soft boundary definition where possible. Tweet...
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Korohiwa Bay, Eastbourne

This project was a design competition for Korohiwa bay, Eastbourne. Our scheme involved a medium density housing development on the inland side of the road. This enabled extensive landscape and beach improvements on the housing zone. The theme of a compact beach village tucked into the hillside and sea cliffs was developed by John Mills who provided an evocative and inspiring concept for the 2-4 storey buildings. The concept incorporated the restoration of the historic “bus barns” as apartments. Although we didn’t manage to convince the council to adopt this scheme (they opted for a standard subdivision) Earthwork were later asked to design the reserve area in front of the new homes – see our “Korohiwa Bay Beachfront” project under Public Spaces – Parks.   Tweet...
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Blue Bay, Mahia

This development, the landscape component of which was completed in 2006, was sited on a retired camping ground and pine forest block. The concept involved the removal of the pines and restoration of the original dune landscape. Houses will be nestled into natural dune and vegetation on the foreshore properties and within more lush, coastal forest style planting for the inland properties. More than 25,000 native dune plants and coastal forest trees and shrubs were planted to define property boundaries, enclose the development and create natural privacy between each building site, and generally set the scene for an informal community- based beach holiday-style settlement. In addition to the planting, distinctive built elements lend an informal semi-rustic coastal character to the development. A major element is the natural swale drainage system with no roadside drainage channel and minimal mountable kerbs used throughout. Lighting is distinctive, with timber...
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Sefton School

This small but extraordinary school, inspired by a wonderfully enthusiastic band of teachers, parents and students, wanted to embrace the  broader concept of  the “outdoor classroom”. The brief was to include everything from an outdoor “room” for classes to a small paddock for pet lambs and even chickens! Vege gardens, a large orchard, worm farm and composting are well under way, but also included in the plan is the decked area with built-in seating etc for classes and outdoor performances, set around a lovely old oak tree. This is to be built after the next  fund-raising effort. Proposals for improvements to the extremely popular and well-used swimming pool area  have been put on hold after structural damage to the pool during the earthquakes but there is no doubt this little school will soon have this under way too. Sefton School Plan   Tweet...
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Boulcott School

The concept of “Enviroschools” was the driving force behind the design of the school grounds here. The Enviroschool programme – encouraging students to become involved in the development of the school environment and embrace the concepts of recycling, sustainability and ecological principles – had been adopted by the school and they wanted the entire design to reflect this and comply with the main principles.  The plan includes community vege gardens, an orchard, native bush area, rain gardens and rainwater collection to tanks, an outdoor classroom and a range of areas for sitting/reading/learning in an outdoor environment   This school has a comprehensive set of standard style playground but this was almost abandoned  by the children when a huge tree was felled and part of the grounds was temporarily filled with felled logs, tree stumps and piles of mulch – the children loved this informal “play...
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Taita Natural Burial Cemetery

I was asked by the Hutt City Council to come up with a concept idea for the Taita Cemetery in response to increasing demand and interest in natural burials. A site was found – a scrub and regenerating Manuka covered hill on the edge of the cemetery surrounded on 3 sides with regenerating native bush. The concept design is based entirely on the simple form and meaning of the emerging native fern frond. The fern frond inspires the “Koru” maori symbol and symbolises new life, regeneration, renewal and growth, both physically and spiritually. Translations also include the concepts of “everything being reborn” and “hope for the future”. This therefore seemed to be an entirely appropriate element to develop the design concept around, and it also suited the practical requirements of the layout very well. The design begins with the main “stem” – a wide pathway which is also accessible...
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Rudolf Steiner School

  This school has a rather barren expanse of asphalt for playing courts which dominates the main playground area and creates a fairly inhospitable entrance to the school. There is also a lack of variety in the spaces available for different activities and creative play, and a lack of shade for the students. The design maintains the courts and provides a series of built-in seating options for watching games. These also double as protection for pockets of planting around the base of shade trees. The entrance is kept open to allow vehicle access but creates a dramatic entrance feel with paving details and decorative poles to frame the area. A pedestrian route from the entrance to the classrooms and admin buildings flows around the various activities in a gently curving, meandering pathway. A selection of spaces around the periphery include a circular reading courtyard/outdoor classroom area, covered decks for shady seating areas,...
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Te Maire Park, Shannon

Shannon used to be a pretty forgettable little town – hard to believe now as the place has become such a delightful place, developing a country village atmosphere all it’s own. The first step in this process was turning the windswept and inhospitable road reserve along the western side of the “main drag” into a park. Whilst the other side of the road had a few historic old buildings and shop frontages the “park” opposite was really just a straggly collection of mismatched trees, dominated by the railway yard beyond. A huge effort by the enthusiastic local community saw the planting and care of hundreds of native and exotic plants though this coridoor and the restoration and development of the historic (but semi-derelict) Shannon Railway Station building. Formal gardens were designed outside the station as an entrance to the park, featuring a pergola structure detailed to complement and match the adjacent station...
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Shannon War Memorial Gardens

Shannon always had a few war memorials – but they were either surrounded in asphalt at  the bus turnaround area or scattered around the Railway Station area, some almost completely hidden by trees. The decision was made to relocate the smaller memorials to one area around the main Cenotaph and develop the Shannon War Memorial Gardens.  This area gives a place of dignity and remembrance for the local community and is in a prime spot – right at the centre intersection. The rose gardens create a central display and are surrounded by a selection of plants of significance to the various wars fought and the countries involved. South African, Greek, Turkish and French species are included amongst the native New Zealand Rimu, Totara and smaller flowering species such as  Renga renga lilies etc. The whole area is enclosed by a Macrocarpa hedge, a typical meditteranean species, and pergolas highlight access points into the...
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Avenue Cemetery, Levin

Most cemeteries are pretty sad looking places – and this one was no exception. As each burial plot was filled, so the monotonous rows spread across the empty paddocks… Finally the Horowhenua Parks Dept thought enough was enough. The surroundings of this cemetery have huge potential for creating a beautiful environment for contemplation, spiritual renewal, grieving etc. The foothills are not far away, there is a semi-wooded deep gully along one side and a small remnant of native forest survives within the boundary. The design concept develops the theme that each person buried here becomes part of the whole – part of the pattern etched on the landscape, not just another plot in the endless, repetative rows. The design creates spaces which are recognisable to visitors – they have less need to remember the number of the row – they remember instead where their loved one is relative to points...
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