Taranaki Wharf, Wellington, New Zealand

Photographer: Bruno Marques

Architect

Wraight + Associates Ltd.

Type of Area

Bay
Outdoor public swimming pool or lido

Land/water interaction

Promenade
Harbour
Pier

Built Environment Types

Highly built
Low green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood
City
Regional

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Small site

Project Types

Urban waterfront restoration
Outdoor recreation
Urban water features

A Rich Waterfront Experience

This project was designed by Wraight + Associates Ltd for Wellington Waterfront Ltd and completed in 2005. The site was a wharf used by ships bringing cargoes from Tasmania from the early 20th century to the 1990s.

The designers aimed to establish a strong city to sea connection and to create a new role for the dock edges as a public promenade. The idea was to maximize the interactions at the water edge to generate a rich waterfront experience for visitors.

The site also strengthens the connections along the Wellington waterfront, linking Frank Kitts park in the north to Waitangi park in the south and at the same time establishing connections to the city centre.

There are a number of old and new buildings around the site which itself uses the wharf structures and refers to the natural and cultural heritage of the place.

The surfaced areas are balanced with wet and dry gardens and the details refer to industrial and nautical materials and finishes forming a distinct palette of elements.

The main focal feature which lends a unique character and animates the site is the jump platform. This consists of a twisting staircase which people climb up and then jump down into the sea through a section cut into the surface of the wharf, meaning that the water is hidden from the casual viewer.

Climate

Warm temperate
Fully humid

Urban/ Rural

Inner urban area

Visibility and Openness

Partly enclosed
Partly contained

Perception and Meaning

Place attachment
Accessibility
Legibility

Health and Wellbeing

Restorativeness
Increased physical activities
Place affordance
Increases socialisation

This project scores, show excellent accessibility to the site, generally a high design quality and a good range of facilities although it is rather exposed to the wind and seems a little short on seating.

Health and well-being opportunities are good apart from the sense of being away and contact with nature. Water connections are also good and there is quite a lot of activity on the water – although limited in scope. The range of physical activities is also good.