Landscape Architect Tony Milne muses on the makings of successful inner-city living in Christchurch.
Historically, we have taken to nesting in suburbia. This tendency is understandable given Christchurch is flat, which supports the proliferation of spread. However, with the majority of our urban population in ‘depopulated car-centric suburbs’, these have become monocultural landscapes with very little soul.
One of the post-earthquake initiatives has been a drive towards a concentration of residential housing in the heart of the city. However, this notion is proving difficult to realise – largely due to the cost of development, but also in part because of the psychology of the typical Christchurch resident, who is used to the idea of more space.
The new Prestons New World supermarket opened in early February, providing convenient grocery shopping for the expanding Prestons and Waitikiri community in the northeast corner of Christchurch. The $17 million supermarket is the anchor retailer for a new commercial hub on the corner of Prestons and Marshland Road that, on completion, will also include retail space, a café and a bar/restaurant.
r+m was involved in the initial master planning, which involved testing a range of broad-scale design layouts for the commercial hub. The final design layout makes a feature of the surrounding stormwater wetland on the northern and eastern site boundaries. Following this, r+m prepared designs for Resource Consent, and later prepared the detailed design documentation for the commercial hub landscaping.
Key features of the landscape design include:
A footbridge connection to Marshlands Road, providing a strong pedestrian arrival experience
Split faced greywacke stone walls as gateway elements complementing the architecture
Extensive hardwood decking and custom balustrading cantilevering over the wetland
An outdoor space overlooking the wetland basin, which includes feature paving and concrete terracing
A circular hardwood fin screen and planter providing shelter from the Norwest for the café alfresco dinning area
r+m has been involved in this project for a number of years and is proud to see the landscape design finally come to fruition. We look forward to seeing how people interact with the design in the future.
In keeping with tradition, r+m's last working day of the year was spent helping out in the community. The morning was spent assisting Coast Care in the clean, tidy and repair of Douglas Kay Reserve in Barrys Bay. With more than a dozen pairs of hands on deck the Reserve was transformed in a matter of hours including rubbish removed, tracks cleared and trees trimmed.
Car parks are a key component of supermarket layout and design, however they can significantly detract from a streetscape and building frontage. r+m have been involved with Foodstuffs South Island Ltd on many of their Pak’n Save and New World projects since 2010 to help develop robust, safe and user friendly parking with minimum visual impacts.
Wainoni Pak’n Save has been re-developed in stages since 2011, with the final stage having been completed in November 2017. Three large stormwater basins and riparian vegetation manage stormwater run-off on site while also providing a significant visual amenity contribution to the supermarket’s Wainoni Road frontage.
r+m have also worked closely with architects McCoy + Wixon to develop creative solutions that integrate landscaping with the building façade. The result is one that successfully provides for both the users and the operational needs of the business while contributing back to the visual amenity and ecology of the community.
The Prestons Park ‘Market Gardens’ Playground is well underway, set to be complete in time for Christmas. This naturalistic, yet colourful, playground is inclusive for all abilities and ages. There is a slide, swing set with a flying saucer, spring rocker, stepping stones, talk tubes, and even some old school hopscotch and four square courts – just BYO ball. There is also plenty of seating and even a scooter rack for those commuting through the linear reserve. r+m can’t wait to see this playground in full swing!
A fantastic couple of days were had in Tekapo in August for the annual r+m weekend away. A sketching competition got the weekend off to an interesting start, followed by curling on the ice rink and a delicious dinner at the local Japanese restaurant. Day two was spent by most skiing at Round Hill with the non-skiers heading to Mt Cook to walk the Hooker Valley Track. A well-deserved soak in the hot pools was followed by dinner prepared by Johnny Schwass. The evening continued with the judging of the sketching competition (well done Sophie), some interesting games, singing (by some) and dancing (by others). A great weekend was had by all.
Trees are highly desirable in cityscapes, providing shade, scale and visual relief from surrounding buildings. They are an integral part of the ARP design however existing subsurface conditions presented considerable difficulties. r+m worked with the ARP project team and the Christchurch City Council to overcome these difficulties and have used ‘Stratavault’ modules (Ex Metro Green Ltd) within the tree pits. These are currently under construction within the Antigua to Durham section of the ARP promenade. The tree pits are filled with topsoil, enabling tree roots to penetrate beyond the tree pit and under paved areas, which in turn encourages a large healthy canopy. The robust modules are assembled around underground services and maintain the structural integrity of the vehicle strength pavement above. The Stratavault modules are an investment in Christchurch’s infrastructure ensuring the street trees provide a lasting legacy for the city.
r+m's annual fishing trip took place on Friday 26 May. An early start had the team on the road just after 5am and on the water just after 8am. Driving the inland route to Kaikoura was a first for many since the Kaikoura earthquake. It was another fantastic day thanks to the guys at Seamist Fishing Charters (www.seamistfishing.co.nz) with our biggest haul of fish yet. The van was very quiet on the way home with most of the team catching 40 winks.
r+m are excited to have another landscape architect join their Wanaka team. Wendy Mogine has boosted numbers in the Wanaka office to three. She has spent the last six years running her own landscape architecture practice in Dunedin working on a wide range of projects in a variety of scales and contexts. These include rural, urban, residential and public amenity. Wendy believes in a client focused, collaborative approach to design in order to deliver the best possible outcomes. Welcome to the r+m team Wendy.
A team of 8 from r+m's Christchurch and Wanaka offices headed to Wellington for the annual NZILA conference. The theme this year was 'Small Urban' with four sub themes of Opportunistic Urban, Wild Urban, Advocating Urban and Moving Urban. The three field trips attended covered Coast, Eco and City and were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Peter Rough spent a month travelling around Iran. This included a circuit of central Iran encompassing Tehran, Shiraz, Eghlid, Yazd, Esfahan and Kashan. He saw some amazing desert landscape usually backed by the impressive Zagros Mountains. Peter visited some fascinating historic sites, stayed in a caravanserai, had a homestay in a small village and saw some very distinctive buildings and structures. The friendliness of the local people was amazing with many strangers coming up to him in the street, shaking hands and saying "welcome to my country" or " welcome to Iran".
r+m are providing graphic and design support to the East Lake Trust. The trust was formed in response to strong public support for a water sports and recreation facility in east Christchurch. Along with the trustees, r+m are volunteering their time to support this project. They are excited to be part of an initiative that values community recreation and sport as well as regeneration in the east.
r+m are working with Architectus on the new central city Library. Conceptual and detailed design work has been undertaken for two podium reading and breakout spaces. Construction of the library on its high profile inner city site is underway.
Note: image supplied by Architectus in association with schmidt hammer lassen architects
Keep an eye out for one of the r+m team on 'Black Beauty'. Always considerate of their environment r+m are trialling an electric bike, affectionately dubbed 'Black Beauty', to transit to inner city meetings. 'Black Beauty' an OKD bike has been kindly loaned by Peter Thornton of Christchurch Electric Bicycles. www.christchurchelectricbicycles.co.nz
At the recent NZILA Executive elections r+m staff members Brooke Mitchell and Nikki Smetham were both successfully elected. Whilst Brooke, who had been in the vice presidency role, returns for a second term this will be new territory for Nikki. Both bring considerable experience and a much needed enquiring voice to the executive. Elections for the NZILA Executive are held every two years.
As part of the Hawkins Design-Build team we are excited to be involved in the design and documentation for this anchor project that will deliver a public realm legacy for the city of Christchurch.
Heritage New Zealand have engaged r+m on the redevelopment of the historic Lyttelton Timeball Station. For r+m this is a continuation of their invovlement prior to the Canterbury Earthquakes. It provides an opportunity to express former narratives of the site through landscape and interpretation. Construction on site will begin mid 2017.
As part of the Apollo Projects team r+m are working on the design-build of the new QEII Recreation and Sports Centre. The sports centre will provide a much needed recreation facility for those in the Eastern suburbs of Christchurch.
r+m are engaged by Fletcher Living to develop the landscape design and documentation for three of the first superlots being developed in the residential east frame of Christchurch. Working alongside Architectus, Warren and Mahoney and DKO Architects on the respective lots, the overall vision is to bring vibrant, varied, high quality liveable opportunities for inner city dwellers. Once developed the apartments will overlook the new east frame linear park being delivered by Otakaro.
r+m are providing advice to the Kaikoura District Council on the landscape and visual effects of the proposed restoration works required to enable the opening of the coastal highway north of Kaikoura. r+m's role is in the peer review of the landscape reports being prepared by NCTIR for the landslip removal, road and rail corridor realignment.
Only four days before the Port Hills fires, a few keen mountain bikers from our team tested their skills at the Christchurch Adventure Park. r+m will now be looking to assist their clients, in whatever way they can, whose properties have sadly been affected by the fires.
St Michael's Church School is an iconic site within central city Christchurch. r+m are currently working with the school to develop a vision for the new look and feel of the school due to the roll change following the Christchurch earthquakes. They have prepared a master plan and are currently working through the developed design phase of this project.
r+m have been engaged by Queenstown Airport Corporation to provide Landscape and Visual Assessment for the proposed NASA balloon launch pad adjacent to Wanaka airport. Resource Consent has been granted for the project and construction is underway to enable a launch in April-May 2017.
As part of r+m's community spirit the team left their technology behind swapping it for spades and levels. It was a day of toil under the hot Canterbury sun making paths, installing a clothesline, trimming hedges, mowing lawns and weeding gardens all for a great cause. What an amazing feeling being able to help a family going through some difficult times.
r+m are working with Bossley Architects and Cymon Allfrey Architects on the 're-configuration' of the current Law Courts for Science Alive. The Law Courts, located on Durham Street, will be moving to the new justice precinct making way for a new use of this prime inner city site. An exciting element of this project is a desire for visitors, and users of the site, to experience science both inside and outside.
Note image supplied by Bossley/Cymon Allfrey Architects
Roll on the end of the year and another installation of the, now famous, r+m and kamomarsh amazing race style event. 2016 saw a return to teams from r+m and kamomarsh going head to head. Once again Tony Milne and Danny Kamo conjured up a day of surprise, culminating in a finish and awards ceremony at Cassels. The r+m team of Bellamy and Walle were to the fore in the sporting activities, unfortunately their lack of dedication to the sketch book resulted in the golden boot slipping from their grasp.
r+m were engaged by Meridian Energy to assess how their assets in the Mackenzie Basin and Waitaki Valley are viewed within the landscape, with specific consideration to colour. Their findings were used to help determine a preferred colour for the repainting of power station roofs and penstocks at Aviemore, Ohau A, B and C as a part of Meridian Energy’s maintenance programme.
r+m were excited to get behind a group of Wanaka bike enthusiasts and support Bike'Vember 2016. This allowed them to strengthen their link with the community and support a local event. They look forward to dressing up in more elaborate period costumes and hopping on their bikes again at the end of 2017!
The r+m Wanaka office have been engaged by HPA Consultants as part of the design team for this new Lifestyle Village in Cromwell. Construction is well underway on site and the Wanaka r+m team are excited to see their design work coming to life so quickly!
r+m are being directly engaged by a number of Christchurch schools and their Boards of Trustees to work on school rebuild projects. They are also working with the Ministry of Education on their roll-out of school repairs and rebuilds.
The delivery of innovative and interesting educational environments can be difficult within current project fiscal constraints, however r+m are stimulated by the challenges each of these projects present.
r+m are working with Villa Maria College, St Bedes College, Medbury School, Lyttelton Primary School (see image above), Mairehau Primary School, Halswell Primary School, Spreydon Primary School and Wigram Primary School.
r+m are launching an initiative know as 'Riparian Sidekick' which offers a comprehensive service to farmers for managing and implementing their farm's riparian scheme from start to flourish. The Riparian Sidekick follows Dairy NZ's Sustainable Dairying Water Accord that requires all dairy farms to have a planting plan for stream banks by 2020 and for these plans to be implemented by 2030.
However, r+m acknowledge that streams don't just run through dairy farms, and therefore offer their service to the farming sector at large. Farm owners will choose their level of involvement in the process of analysing, designing/planning, staging, pricing, sourcing, planting and maintaining their farm's riparian scheme. The Riparian Sidekick will take care of the rest.
Everyone benefits when we plant our waterways. The positive and far-reaching effect on our environment is well understood. However, there are many direct and significant benefits for your farm business also.