The creation of new public spaces is a risky business - making modifications to well used and loved ones is perhaps riskier still. Oriental Bay is part of the city’s experience of every Wellingtonian, and all their visitors. This project adds both materially and qualitatively to that experience. New elements; beach, boardwalk, promontory, kiosk and change rooms are carefully and quietly added, whilst equal care is taken over what is removed; poor water quality, urban clutter and intrusive structures. What is below the surface is treated with the same care as what is above it. The result is a great deal more than an enhancement.
NZIA Supreme Award Jury Citation (2006)
Instead of one 59m wide beach with a large headland control structure, Architecture Workshop (AW) found that the prevailing Wellington harbor situation is a narrow sand edge and rocky foreshore at the base of steep topography. Having identified that the promenade was the main activity appropriate to Wellington’s harbour, AW master planned three smaller beaches of different character to emphasize the ‘local’. In a joint venture with civil and coastal engineers Tonkin and Taylor, and the Isthmus Landscape Group, AW designed a stacked precast control structure to maintain a wider expanse of sand at each of the three beaches. A new pier and amenity block separates the Fryberg car parking from a new grassy beach. Furthermore, new stairs and ramps through the heritage sea wall extend walking routes.
The infrastructure works include the upgrade of the old storm water system and addition of a walking pavement discharge around the base of the band rotunda, and decluttering the numerous signs, tree surrounds and lights along the promenade. All these small changes aggregate to greatly improve the public realm while still allowing for the high tide to splash against the heritage seawall.
NZ Wood Timber Design Award, 2009
NZIA Supreme Architecture Award, 2006
Wellington Civic Trust Award, 2006
NZ National Award ‘Year of the Built Environment’, 2006
George Malcolm Supreme Landscape Award, 2004
NZIA NZ Regional Architecture Award Urban Design, 2004