Islands (Motutere) is a design-led research and experimental project that explores how the ideas of tactical urbanism, place-making and strategic activation can be applied to and rejuvenate an urban waterfront precinct.
It explores themes of place making, culture, community and waterfront development that are particularly relevant to the practice of Landscape Architecture in relation to public space and amenity of urban waterfronts. A key premise of Islands is that the waterfront reflects a coming together of the ecologies of the city, harbour/nature, infrastructure and community that converge and interact dynamically on the waters edge.
Our response is creative, challenging and deliberately provocative in the context of Auckland’s ongoing waterfront transformation. Familiar waterfront spatial typologies – promenade, plaza and pier – are replaced with new alternatives that blur boundaries between land and sea, public and private,
As a floating social and ecological activation device – conceived as a topographical intervention reminiscent of a Hauraki Gulf landscape – it represents a new type of public space for Auckland. A moveable, floating, social and ecological infrastructure that supports swimming, events, performance, occupation and delight.
Auckland’s landscape consists of a dramatic and sculptural field of geological volcanoes and a flooded harbour system of rhythmical headlands and bays. However the city centre’s waterfront has been highly modified and access to the water’s edge compromised over time.
Islands establishes a sculptural form juxtaposed against the highly modified and constructed urban water’s edge. It invites re-occupation of the cities blue water spaces. A water based social and ecological strategic activation device that blurs boundaries between land (whenua) and sea (moana). Able to be positioned in a variety of water’s edge locations to provide a program of constantly changing experiences.
Islands is ecological provocative and promotes environmental issues such as water quality that affect the city centre. A sub-surface marine forest establishes a new ecological island habitat that supports harbour biodiversity. Island can be a catalyst for a range of ecological enhancements to the Auckland’s urban waterfront.
Islands is culturally resonant. ‘Motutere’ is a maori word for island. ‘Motu’ means to sever and ‘tere’ means to drift. Islands will provide a venue for educational, community and cultural based events.
Island is experimental and will involve the testing and trialling of new construction methodologies and embrace New Zealand’s traditions of sea faring, boat building, innovation and exploration. The design concepts have been tested with experts in marine infrastructure and the design approach seeks to adopt and modify the technologies associated with existing modular floating infrastructure into something more adaptable and flexible. The integration of a subterranean marine ecology utilises and builds on existing best practice in terms of aquaculture and urban waterfront ecology.
Islands Motutere | LandLAB
Image Credits LandLAB
Project Team Henry Crothers, Sam Gould, Greer Carmine