News | 12 November 2019
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Prestigious public space awards for Wellington projects

The stunning designs of the North Kumutoto public space on Wellington’s waterfront, Eva and Leeds Street Laneways, Discovery Garden at the Botanic Garden, and the Chimpanzee Park at Wellington Zoo have all been recognised at two award ceremonies over the weekend.

Image of Kumutoto from the water at dusk

At the NZ Institute of Landscape Awards, Wellington City Council’s Urban Design Team won an Award of Excellence in the Small Projects category for the Eva and Leeds Street Laneways project.

The Discovery Garden – Te Kaapuia o Te Waoku at the Wellington Botanic Garden won an Award of Excellence in the Institutional category, and the Chimpanzee Park at Wellington Zoo was the Playgrounds overall category winner – both of which were designed by landscape architects Isthmus Group.

Meanwhile, at the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards, Isthmus Group and Wellington City Council won the Planning & Urban Design Category award for the Kumutoto Pavilion, part of the revamp of North Kumutoto.

Mayor Andy Foster says the awards are a fantastic recognition of the design investment in Wellington’s public spaces. “We put a lot of effort into creating quality public space for Wellingtonians and visitors to enjoy, and it’s always great to have the design spaces recognised.”

Congratulations go to the Wellington City Council’s Urban Design, Build Wellington and Parks, Sport and Recreation teams, Isthmus Group and the contractors on these projects – Hawkins, Peryer Construction, Maycroft Construction Ltd and Naylor Love, along with the wider consultant team and other City Council and Wellington Zoo staff who have all been involved in these projects.  

“Our central city has over 50 lanes and arcades and projects like the Eva and Leeds Street Laneways – helping to create safer, more inviting pedestrian environments that also support the development of new, small businesses.

“Likewise, the flexible public spaces provided by the North Kumutoto design offer new opportunities for leisure activities and a chance to get right down to the water, so everyone can enjoy Wellington’s waterfront.

“The Discovery Garden, an area specifically designed for children in the Wellington Botanic Garden, provides another opportunity for children to connect with nature in our city centre.

“Wellingtonians can be rightly proud of these improvements to our laneways, waterfront, parks and gardens. These are prestigious awards that recognise how great public architecture can transform cities and communities.”

The revamp of North Kumutoto – the 6000 square-metre area between the Meridian building and the Bluebridge ferry terminal, features a new timber boardwalk, better sea access, planting to attract wildlife, the pavilion and seating areas, covered walkways and new art installations.

The folded-timber deck transitions seamlessly with the key feature, the Kumutoto Pavilion – a place for shade and partial shelter. The pavilion, with its playful design and warm surface textures is composed of a matrix of timber battens formed into cassettes and attached to steel-lattice trusses. The $7 million North Kumutoto project was completed in October 2018.

The Eva and Leeds Street Laneways revamp was part of the $5.5 million investment in laneways in Wellington City Council's ten year plan. The project was designed to increase the energy in the spaces that link Eva and Leeds Streets by attracting more people, while also celebrating the local heritage and unique character in the area. The Eva and Leeds Street Laneways project was completed in December 2015.

The Discovery Garden, which is loosely modelled on the UK’s Eden Project, and inspired by existing children’s gardens in Brooklyn, Melbourne, Singapore, and Auckland, opened in September 2017.