Waterfront Framework is a Winner

16 November 2009

Mayor Kerry Prendergast is delighted that the Waterfront Framework has won a 2009 Architecture Award in the Urban Design category at this year's New Zealand Institute of Architects' Wellington Architecture Awards.

The Waterfront Framework is Wellington City Council's policy document providing the vision and direction for development of the city's 20-hectare waterfront area.

"The Framework is the document that has guided all the good things that have sprung up on the waterfront over the past nine years. It is also the document that directed the proposed arrangement of public spaces and buildings in the Kumutoto area of the waterfront that have been the subject of the 'Variation 11' decisionmaking by the Council this week," Mayor Prendergast says.

"The fact the Framework is now an award-winner is a real tribute to the hard work of many people who could see the potential of the waterfront as a place to bring pleasure to so many Wellingtonians and visitors.

"Normally it's beautifully-designed individual buildings that win NZIA awards - so it's doubly nice to know that the judges consider the Waterfront Framework to be a fine example of what drives great form and function."

Mayor Prendergast says the Framework has proven the test of time - directing consistent high-quality results since it was developed in 2001.

Award-winning projects have flowed from the Framework's direction including Waitangi Park - the design of which was chosen through a competition, and the Kumutoto development, which includes the Meridian Building and the surrounding open space.

The Framework spells out the vision, values, principles and objectives for all development on the waterfront. It also sets out the ongoing management of the waterfront, with the Council setting the direction and the implementation being undertaken by Wellington Waterfront Ltd. A Technical Advisory Group provides design advice. 

Cr Andy Foster, the Council's Urban Development Portfolio Leader, says the Framework was developed by recognising the best of international practice and taking into account the concerns and aspirations of Wellingtonians.

"The Council listened when 2,000 people turned up at the Town Hall in February 2000 to oppose the implementation of 'Variation 17'which would have led to intensive building development on the harbour's edge. The Framework was the solution that gave the community certainty as to how the waterfront was to move forward."  

Innovation, creativity and excellence are the Framework's key cornerstones, alongside the community's aspirations. The seven objectives of the Framework are that:

  • The waterfront is locally and internationally recognised for its design.
  • The waterfront is readily accessible to all people.
  • The waterfront is, and is perceived to be safe at all times.
  • The waterfront is seen as an attractive place that draws Wellingtonians and visitors alike.
  • The waterfront successfully caters for a wide range of events and activities.
  • Significant heritage buildings are protected on the waterfront.
  • Activities on the waterfront are integrated with those on the harbour.

The Framework development was led by a community-based leadership group which represented Māori, residents, business interests and City Councillors. It was supported by a team of senior City Council staff, including urban-design experts.