Boffa Miskell projects highly commended for urban design

The Talbot Park Renewal Project and the Blueprint for Christchurch were highly commended in the inaugural New Zealand Urban Design Awards© announced on 8 November 2012.

The new biennial awards programme promotes excellence in the design and creation of urban environments by recognising exemplary work. The awards are a partnership between five organisations active in New Zealand’s urban design sector: the New Zealand Institute of Architects, the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects, the Property Council New Zealand, the New Zealand Planning Institute and the New Zealand Urban Design Forum.

Awards are made in two categories – Built Projects and Envisaging Projects.

Talbot Park renewal Project

The Talbot Park Renewal Project, located in the east Auckland suburb of Glen Innes, was highly commended in the Built Projects category.

The project was a three-way partnership between Housing New Zealand Corporation, Auckland City Council and the local community.

Boffa Miskell provided the urban design, planning, landscape architecture, low impact design and community engagement services on the project, which involved refurbishing 108 existing units on the site and construction of 111 new units designed by seven different architectural practices to improve housing choice and improve urban amenity and safety.

The judges said the development “improves the intensification of the town centre and transport node, being within walking distance of both.”

They commented favourably on the passive surveillance of the public spaces provided by the residential units designed to front onto streets and overlook the reserves and play areas and said the newly created public streets provide greater permeability.

The Jury was impressed by the “quality and diversity of medium density housing typologies designed to suit different household compositions”, which included single storey units, a secured accessible apartment block, terraced houses and detached homes.

“The landscaping is a strong and well integrated into the development, and adds to the visual richness of the local environment. Importantly it helps to redefine the character of the public realm which has in turn started to positively affect the care of the private open spaces.

“Housing choice was increased through this development leading to a more mixed community and it demonstrates how a well designed community can, at the same time, improve amenity and increase density.”

Blueprint for the Christchurch Central recovery Plan

The Blueprint was highly commended in the Envisaging Projects category – urban design projects that provide the plans or frameworks for future development.

Boffa Miskell led the Blueprint 100 project consortium, which comprised Boffa Miskell, Sheppard + Rout Architects, Warren and Mahoney Architects, Populous, Woods Bagot and RCP, and was appointed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

The judges said the Blueprint provides a comprehensive response to the city’s need for redevelopment in the aftermath to the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

“It represents an innovative and detailed response to the complex set of issues raised by these unique circumstances and has been developed collaboratively between central government, local government and the community.”

The judges commented that the proposed spatial framework importantly looks at both the development required and the opportunity presented to restructure the city’s open space network.

“It deliberately compresses and contains the retail area (a bold move by government), and expands the green network. This in turn recognises the inherent potential synergy between higher density living and proximity to green and blue networks.”

The judges acknowledged that the plan aims to provide certainty and confidence for reinvestment in the city by defining and locating key ‘Anchor Project’ elements of the city’s public and amenity infrastructure, thereby providing “momentum to recovery.”

“Overall, the plan provides the potential for high quality urban design outcomes and reflects a realistic response to rehabilitating the city.”

12 November 2012