Citation:Bradbury, M. (2006). Auckland WaterPark. The Landscape Architecture Journal. May. pp 214-225 International Federation of Landscape Architects Eastern Region (IFLAer) 2006 Conference. Canberra: Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/2133
Like many waterfront cities in the world, Auckland is experiencing the slow but sure transformation of a heavily industrialised and polluted harbour into a lifestyle zone of apartments and marinas. This paper discusses and illustrates an urban design investigation of the Auckland Waterfront. The paper reconsiders the conventional master plan approach to waterfront projects in favour of a graduated development strategy based on an acknowledgment of Auckland own landscape particularities. The paper begins with a description of the history of the Auckland waterfront, a description of the present day configuration, and a discussion of contemporary issues. The paper moves on to describe the author’s design proposal. An incremental, phased strategy is suggested. The design project starts by mapping the landscape conditions of the Auckland waterfront. These conditions then intersect with a series of environmental infrastructure measures. Firstly, the collection and disposal of dangerous and toxic fill, found in both contaminated waterfront sites and the adjacent seabed. Secondly, the provision of a series of remediation zones to actively clean and filter polluted storm water before discharging into the harbour. Utilising the time frames of the native ecology, the waterfront is gradually transformed into a network of localized ecotones. Opportunities for an active social engagement with these new sites and their newly formed connection to city and harbour are revealed and exploited. A cultural infrastructure is gradually inserted into this social and landscape network. Of course the unavoidable accouchements of ‘waterfront city’ cannot be denied but there location can create unfamiliar but potentially rewarding juxtapositions with the new landscape. A case study of the Queens Wharf is developed in detail to reveal how the initial mapping and environmental remediation strategies can be developed through an engagement with the techniques of garden making. In this case study, garden making is used as an instrumental, directive force to act on the newly discovered landscape conditions. Gradually a unique urbanism is developed which eschews the traditional urbanism of Europe and North America. Moving beyond the limitations of the traditional fixed master plan, the Auckland WaterPark project demonstrates a fluid and moving development strategy, which acknowledges the time of both landscape and city.