Cenotaph Precinct project takes the win

6 April 2017

Wellington City Council Urban Design team, along with Wraights + Associates Ltd, are the proud winners of this year’s New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Award for the Urban Spaces category.

Cenotaph Precinct

Mayor Justin Lester, says he is proud of the win. 

“Up against some of New Zealand’s best landscape architect projects, our team created the design which took the win,” says Mayor Lester.

It was a joint venture between Wellington City Council and the Parliamentary Service. The project vision was met with keen support by both the Parliamentary Service and Heritage New Zealand, who contributed to the technical support and review during the project’s design and implementation phases. 

“The Cenotaph Precinct project was a rewarding partnership between the Council’s urban design team and Wraights + Associates Ltd.

“The precinct is a place to remember and honour the 1700 Wellingtonians who died in World War I. It creates an area where people can both appreciate the heritage and history, and enjoy the surroundings of an urban space.”  

The design of the new Parliamentary stairway also provides seating for everyday use as well as for special events such as Anzac Day.

The Cenotaph Monument was built in 1929, and after its dedication in April 1929, it has become the focus for commemorative ceremonies and also a landmark for the city.

Key components of Wellington’s nationally important Parliamentary Precinct include the canvas for artist Joe Sheehan’s ‘Walk the Line’ sonic sculpture and the new Parliamentary stairway.  They have significantly transformed the area for both appearance and use of the northern end of Wellington’s CBD.

Urban Design Manager Trudy Whitlow, says she is thrilled by the win and it is a testimony to all the hard work and effort put into the project. 

“We’d like to acknowledge the Wellington Sculpture Trust, who commissioned Joe Sheehan’s ‘Walk the Line’ sculpture – an interpretation of the historical Wai-piro Stream – it is a subtle expression of the site’s natural history.” 

LT McGuiness worked closely both with Joe Sheehan and the urban design team to guarantee Joe’s vision could be incorporated into the square’s design. Pieces of pounamu and jade have been laid in the paving to trace the stream.

The area’s history dates back to Maori settlement. The Oamaru stone pou at Waititi Landing near the Cenotaph, by Ra Vincent, indicates the old shoreline and waka landing beach used by Te Atiawa and other Taranaki Whānui iwi.  Further along on Thorndon Quay, is a pou carved by Eruera Te Whiti Nia which acknowledges Wellington iwi who fought in the 28th Maori Battalion.

Trudy Whitlow says, the Cenotaph Precinct upgrade is an example of creativity, innovation, and dedication to the restoration of one of Wellington’s most important historic areas.

“We would like to acknowledge our project partners Wraight+Associates Ltd, Aurecon, Davis Langdon (Aecom), eCubed Building Workshop, and LT McGuiness for all their hard work. Without them, this project could not have been the success it has become.”

The $2.5 million project began in August 2014 and was completed in time for Anzac Day 2015.

“Congratulations also to landscape architects Wraight Athfield Landscape + Architecture Ltd for a great win last night, taking the George Malcolm Supreme Award. It was a great collaboration between NZTA, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and the Wellington City Council,” adds Trudy.

“And, to our friends at Wellington Zoo for their Institutional Category win for Meet the Locals He Tuka Aroha.”