Isthmus Group: Kopupaka Park represents a design-led approach that integrates community amenities with engineering and ecology. What once might have been considered ‘space left over after planning’ has been transformed into a hybrid park that challenges expectations around the design and use of stormwater reserves, and illustrates how urban growth can be balanced with ecological restoration, the creation of new public space and the development of a strong sense of place.
The notion of weaving histories and overlapping functions together is the dominant design narrative of the park, with a concept of ‘thread, weave and gather’ articulated in physical form through the merging tributary and constructed wetlands of the park. While Kopupaka Park provides the infrastructure for the attenuation and detention of stormwater run-off from the streets and buildings of a new town centre, this new type of civic infrastructure, where traditional boundaries, constraints and functions overlap, has a tight overlay of cultural, ecological, community and (mostly unseen) engineering objectives.
What is visible are the cultural aspects of the project, especially the curving timber ‘baskets’ that have been integrated into the edges of three main wetland ponds. These functional sculptures abstractly reference harakeke (flax) woven into kete (baskets) and hīnaki (eel pots). While the forms appear complex and bespoke, they are in fact constructed from a standard timber-crib retaining system: an off-the-shelf system adapted to allow the expression of a traditional weaving pattern in curvaceous form.
Landscape Architect: Isthmus Group
Client: Auckland Council
Awards: WAF – World Landscape of the Year Winner
RCP Project managers
NZRPG Developers Delivery Team
Blue Barn Consulting