The Plaza, Te Kaikata | Auckland, New Zealand | Bespoke Landscape Architects

The Plaza is located within The District at Auckland Airport and was designed with the dual objective of becoming a new public space for The Quad precinct, whilst also providing the landscape and urban setting for Auckland Airport’s new property marketing suite – Te Kaitaka (The Cloak) designed by Fearon Hay Architects.


The District currently has 303,000 sqm of developed business area under management including hotels, retail, office space, warehousing, recreational facilities and more $520 million of total asset value under management. At the heart of The District, The Quad has been established for businesses wanting to be part of a thriving office complex with hotel accommodation and retail providers servicing passengers and airport workers alike. As part of this rapidly developing area Auckland Airport have been visionary in providing for a variety of new public spaces and recreation activities which foster a sense of community and blur the lines of the traditional airport experience. The Plaza is one such initiative and is already proving a popular destination to meet, relax, hang out and eat during the day.


In the role of landscape architecture and urban design, Bespoke were engaged to create the concept vision for the space and carry this through developed design, full construction documentation and site observation. This involved working in conjunction with Fearon Hay, as well as the landscape master plan designer, James Lord of Surfacedesign Inc and a talented team of supporting consultants.


The site is situated on one of the Quad’s first new urban roads, in a prominent corner location, was bound on all sides by existing features and constrained by an overland flow path running diagonally through the area. The already completed streetscape along Leonard Isitt Drive provided some further constraints (and opportunities) with a strong layout and selection of materials running adjacent and abutting the space. The design responded to these features by, creating a green apron to the building as it rises out of the natural grade, engaging directly with and extending the existing streetscape and wrapping the southern and eastern extents of the site with a series of low sculpted mounds. The overland flow path is represented in a bold cutting physically paved line that does not try to disguise this functional feature and also provides natural irrigation to the tree pits that run along this axis.


The Plaza is envisaged to be a safe, multi-functional, colourful and engaging urban space. Its programme of space is purposefully open and flexible in nature to provide the ability for users to populate the space as they wish, as well as allowing the full opening up of the space for larger events. The variety of grassed banks, in-situ bar table and flexible cafe style seating provides a range of ways for people to occupy and take ownership of the space. The bar table is the only fixed furniture element within the space and was designed to represent a panel of the paving being extracted up from the ground plain. Its revealed garden space below is planted with a mix of Nasturtiums and Black Eyed Susan Vines to provide colour and interest, whilst also disguising the supporting post structures.


The burgeoning popularity and occupation of The Plaza is testament to not only the success of the design but also to the foresight of Auckland Airport in recognising the role they could play in fostering a greater sense of community as part of their development plans. This will continue to develop with the further expansion of The District and also in the realisation of their recently unveiled 30 year development plan.



The Plaza, Te Kaikata | Auckland New Zealand | Bespoke Landscape Architects

Location | The District at Auckland Airport, New Zealand
Client | Auckland International Airport Limited
Landscape Architecture & Urban Design | Bespoke Landscape Architects
Architecture | Fearon Hay
Landscape Master Plan | Surfacedesign Inc
Project Management | RCP
Civil Design | Woods
Structural & Electrical Design | Mott Macdonald
Main Contractor | Alaska

Image Credits| George Woolford, Bespoke Landscape Architects



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About Damian Holmes 5668 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at