LandLAB is a New Zealand, design-led, studio-based practice creating sustainable, innovative and creative outcomes across a range of landscape, urbanism and placemaking projects in Tāmaki Makaurau-Auckland, across Aotearoa and beyond. As our name suggests our philosophy integrates a site-specific approach (‘Land’) with a creative and rigorous design process (‘LAB’). Our work reflects our interrogation of the inter-relationships between the ecologies and systems of ‘landscape’, ‘urbanism’ and ‘place’. We operate at the intersection of ecology, landscape, architecture and urbanism. We apply our rigorous and creative approach to the design of objects, spaces, places and territories. We design for people and are equally interested in how each project works, is assembled and looks. We believe in a design-led process, and guide projects with expertise, leadership and tenacity. We collaborate with our clients, communities, technical consultants and other creative disciplines. We encourage authenticity, innovation, and environmental responsibility. Our projects are developed through the discussion of theory, research, design investigation and technical expertise.
Our approach to urban design seeks to reveal underlying urban morphologies, landscape structures, and natural processes. This rethinking of the city through landscape offers a way to consider the complexities of human activity, movement, infrastructure and the environment as a system of overlapping and interconnected ecologies. Our approach reflects an ongoing interrogation of the inter-relationships between the ecologies and systems of landscape, urbanism and place. Our project experience includes the design leadership of city precincts, urban campuses, residential master plans, river edge and waterfront sites, transport infrastructure, place and activation strategies and the detailed design of streets, shared spaces, public open spaces and innovative green infrastructure. Our projects have been internationally and nationally acknowledged for their design excellence, cultural resonance, innovation and sustainability. We design for people and are equally as interested in how each project works, is assembled and looks. We believe in the power of design, of design thinking, in the value of the public realm, and in the discipline of landscape architecture as the foundation for this. We believe in putting people and their experiences first. We believe that good design is good business … and good fun.
LandLAB was established in 2013 by Design Director Henry Crothers following 15 years working in large multi-disciplinary design practices in New Zealand and Australia. From humble beginnings around a plywood table, we’ve assembled a talented team with expertise across urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, ecology and placemaking. We’ve established ourselves within a relatively short period of time – however, we are just beginning our journey. We seek to imagine, create and deliver through active collaboration the sustainable and innovative urban, infrastructural and landscape spaces for the new Aotearoa and beyond.
The project enhances access to the water and brings the spirit and ecology of the river (fluid) into a dialogue with the city (grid). The new promenade layers and thickens the edge of the city to catalyse new opportunities for access and occupation. LandLAB have led the design for the Terraces river edge precinct – located at the epicentre of Christchurch’s city centre revitalisation – which transforms Oxford Terrace from a conventional street into a shared use zone prioritising pedestrian access, occupation and the integration of a new tram circuit. This new promenade and city edge condition provides the catalyst for Christchurch to turn and face the river and the key connecting element for the Avon River Park’s sequence of public realm experiences. A series of terraced river edge structures celebrate the interaction of city and river and enable new engagements with the Avon – Otakaro for gathering, recreation and events.The heritage-listed Bridge of Remembrance and adjacent Park of Remembrance are refurbished and reworked to establish a cohesive rivers edge destination that reveals and celebrates an existing network of heritage listed monuments and landmarks. The project incorporates a new low impact design strategy that treats promenade run-off prior to discharging this into the Avon as well as the ecological enhancement of the river corridor. LandLAB have provided the overall urban and landscape design leadership. Mana whenua collaboration and community engagement. Bespoke design elements and features. LID, Shared Space and open space design.
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand | Client: Otakaro Ltd | Date: 2013-2018 | Budget: $17m | Team: OPUS + EOS Ecology + E3BW
Daldy Street ‘Linear Park’ provides the second of the Wynyard Quarters strategic urban design moves. This is a ‘hybrid’ space that combines the functionality and linearity of a street with the rhythmical spatial sequences and diverse programs of a park. Low impact design, sustainable infrastructure, movement networks and episodic design elements are woven into an integrated landscape system. This provides for a journey and continuous green corridor between ‘land’ (pre-reclamation waters edge) and ‘sea’ (harbour). Landscape is prioritised to reconnect, revitalise and re-energise the post-industrial ‘terrain vague’ of the Quarter’s core while bringing together people, ecology, infrastructure buildings and landscape. The design language draws on the site’s post-industrial and coastal character. It integrates elements of the sites marine archaeology and establishes a native and ecological planting aesthetic which supports a low impact design strategy and ecological diversity.
This project received NZILA excellence awards for both ‘urban design’ and ‘sustainability’. LandLAB have also designed and documented the second phase of Daldy Street (Pakenham to Fanshawe Streets) and the adjacent Wynyard Commons open space which creates the social and recreational focal point for the southern section of the Quarter. LandLAB have provided the overall urban and landscape design leadership. Mana whenua collaboration and community engagement. Bespoke design elements and features. LID and sustainability strategies. Street and Open Space design.
Location: Wynyard Quarter, Auckland | Client: Waterfront Auckland | Date: 2009-2013 | Budget: $20m | Team: Architectus + OPUS
LandLAB were commissioned by Todd Properties Limited in 2014 to design a series of wetlands, associated open spaces and a series of bridges within the Vaughan’s Stream corridor in Long Bay, Tāmaki Makarau – Auckland, New Zealand. LandLAB provided the landscape design leadership alongside a multi-disciplinary consultant team. Long Bay encompasses 162 ha and includes a village centre, 2500 houses and 28 ha of parks and areas given over to heritage protection. The scope includes the design of 3 wetland areas forming part of an integrated low impact design network and storm water treatment system for the wider development, a road bridge on the sites main north-south spine connecting the two sides of the stream and a series of secondary pedestrian bridges providing pedestrian connectivity between the stream corridor, neighbourhood and adjacent Long Bay Regional Park. The Vaughan’s Stream Reserve is a new 20ha infrastructural park that will provide Long Bays’ signature landscape experience. The design strategy stitches together the ecological restoration of an existing stream corridor with new storm water and social infrastructure programs into a contemporary coastal parkland network. The organisational strategy introduces a family of design elements – boardwalks, bridges and pavilions – which facilitate circulation, navigation and occupation.
A key driver of the project for the client was to reinforce the landscape and destination qualities of Long Bay. The three key overlapping components that achieve this – identified during the early design phases – were:
– ‘beach’ Long Bay regional Park as a setting and attraction
– ‘village’ a new place and focal point that enables and supports a new community
– ‘park’ provides landscape amenity and identity that reinforces the Long Bay sense of place
Location: Long Bay, Auckland | Client: Todd Properties Ltd | Date: 2014 – Current (Under Construction) | Budget: $12m | Team: Woods (Civil) + Novare (Structure)
A 2 km long ‘shared use’ water’s edge promenade and associated public open spaces integrated within a complex and dynamic working waterfront context. The project has successfully merged together the existing working marina, land based activities and enhanced public access to a previously inaccessible water’s edge. The promenade incorporates generous timber decking, bespoke seating and lighting. The spatial strategy for Westhaven Marina integrates its ‘green’ and ‘blue’ spaces to guide future development and integration of the proposed marina infrastructure, development potential, public access and walking/cycling transforms the marina into a multi-functional destination. The continuous ‘shared path’ along the Westhaven foreshore between Wynyard Quarter and the Auckland Harbour Bridge including new water’s edge open spaces, marina infrastructure and new coastal structures such as piers, observation platforms, look outs and the ecological enhancement of the coastal margin zone. LandLAB has also worked with Waterfront Auckland’s marina team to develop designs for new marina infrastructure including pier entrances, signage and the re-use of pontoons and platforms for public access.
Location: Westhaven, Auckland | Client: Waterfront Auckland | Date: 2011-Current | Budget: $7.5m NZD | Team: ASPECT Studios + Architectus + JAWA Structures + E3BW
Te Ara I Whiti – Light path transforms a redundant piece of motorway infrastructure into a playful and sculptural piece of cycling infrastructure threaded through Auckland’s inner city motorway junction. The design intent of the project was to create a hybrid space that supports its intended function as a cycle path but also enables exploration, discovery and occupation. The path enables a journey and episodic experience that engages with both the infrastructural landscape of the motorway and contextual views of the wider landscape. At the urban scale the pathway is conceived as a single unifying and connecting form by day and a dynamic living sculpture by night. The graphic and bold treatment of the surface and lighting enables it to be read as singular intervention which sits comfortably within the mega scale of the surrounding motorway infrastructure. Three hundred individual LED light poles controlled by sensors are arranged as a spine down the city side of the path creating a living and breathing interactive urban light sculpture that responds to varying patterns and intensities of user movement. Light path is both an experience and a place. The hot pink colour scheme provides an abstract reference to the sites natural history, a nod to the adjacent night life district of Karangahape Road along with tactical whimsy. ‘Te Ara I Whiti’ is a Māori name which translates to ‘path of light’.
Location: Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland, New Zealand | Client: Auckland Council (AC) + Auckland Transport (AT) + New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) | Date: 2015 – 2016 | Budget: $10m NZD | Team: Monk Mackenzie + GHD + lion