Rosa Barba Landscape Prize was awarded to Australian landscape architecture firm, Taylor Cullity Lethlean (TCL) and New Zealand firm, Wraight + Associates (WA) for the transformation of Auckland‟s waterfront which was completed in 2011.
The prize was announced on 26 September as part of the 8th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona, 25–27 September 2014. TCL Director, Perry Lethlean, who presented the project at the Biennial, said winning the award from a field of some of the world‟s most distinguished landscape architects and internationally renowned projects, is a significant achievement for the firm. “We‟re extremely honoured to win this prestigious award in what is the first time it has been opened to the international design community. The Rosa Barba Landscape Prize recognises the world‟s best in landscape architecture from the past five years, which was clearly evident in the calibre of outstanding shortlisted projects,” he said.
The Auckland Waterfront project, comprising North Wharf Promenade, Jellicoe Street and Silo Park, involved the transformation of a decrepit industrial maritime site into a vibrant and diverse public precinct. The design challenges conventions by celebrating its original elements and encouraging public interaction with the waterfront‟s industry.
The revitalised precinct attracts thousands of people daily who enjoy its casual alfresco dining establishments, harbour-edge pedestrian promenade, sub-tropical rain gardens, and a park designed around an original cement silo that plays host to a range of popular public functions.
Silo Park is a triangular tract that links Jellicoe Harbour with marine industries to its west. It is located on a former cement depot from which a large silo – once earmarked for removal is now retained. The silo forms a multi-programmed focus of a layered public space that facilitates a range of hybrid uses; passive recreation, event space, youth precinct, water filtration and retention, industry and folly. Each program is new to the site, yet built from the pattern language, infrastructure and the mythology of place. These overlapping programs are orientated via the armature of the gantry, an evocative response to the industrial language of the site. It is designed to be part folly, play structure, lookout, arbour and event framework. It also forms the infrastructure for a proposed working dock. Bringing industry into public view and integrated into the design, reinforces an authentic, albeit glossy, waterfront experience.
Jellicoe Harbour and Silo Park demonstrate a receptiveness to investigate, embrace and interpret a narrative of place in the creation of a contemporary and authentic public realm experience.
Image Credit: Simon Devitt