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Innovations in Urban Pathways

14 Aug

This months LG (Local Government) Magazine contains an special feature on urban pathways. Taumanu Bridge features, as does our own Lisa Rimmer who is involved in the design and consenting of several Wellington cycleways. Extract below.


Urban pathways are morphing from functional facilities to recreational, creative and iconic infrastructure. And unlike expressways, communities rarely complain about having them on their doorstep. So should councils be doing more to embrace these developments? Patricia Moore talks with some of the people paving the way for a far more connected urban future.


Lisa Rimmer, an associate at Isthmus, also highlights the opportunity to celebrate and recognise the relationship of mana whenua.
She says iwi talk about “the power of the path” which is enabling “a step-change in terms of connectivity, contribution to the quality of the urban environment and helping build a sense of identity and community”.
Meanwhile, she says a focus on “bang-for-buck benefits” has been central to her firm’s work in realising the Wellington community’s vision for the Great Harbour Way along the edge of Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington Harbour).
“A train footage-based simulation and feedback through social media have helped communities engage and help shape the various stages of the project.”
Demand for more and better pathways is a challenge for local bodies. Lisa believes cycling and walking initiatives will become more central to councils’ long-term plans.
Such initiatives will expand from recreation and transport solutions and benefits, to being a critical tool for local government to achieve their overall vision across a broader range of policies.
“We also see them bringing a requirement to cross boundaries, strengthening partnerships between national, regional and local authorities and communities,” says Lisa.




Opening up the harbour with a floating archipelago

6 Jul

Welcome home to the Auld mug. The latest Paper Boy features the Isthmus design concept for the next Americas Cup.


The brief  was to choose a site for an America’s Cup event to be held, and suggest the amenities that could accompany it – be they parks, housing, transport links, or other more outlandish suggestions.

The theme of our concept was:
Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi – Without foresight or vision the people will be lost.

The Maori proverb urges a progressive future for the unification of our people. The America’s Cup is Now Aotearoa’s Cup – The quote made famous in 1995 is translated to give it new meaning, a new purpose and a new origin. America’s Cup has traditionally been an event that is participated by the world’s wealthy boating community – here an opportunity exists.

Inspired by Christo’s floating piers, a promenade is draped over the Waitemata Harbour meandering towards a scaffolded floating pavilion. The pavilions create a new cultural and spectator experience accessible by everyday people. Playfully the promenade moves back and forth connecting land, sea and people. The promenade democratises the water and becomes an extension of the public realm. A synthetic archipelago challenges perception and provokes contemplation. Sitting on the edge between manmade, nature and the spectacle that is the Americas Cup.

Te Hauauru Park

2 Jun

A new town centre is emerging at Westgate in West Auckland. In addition to Kopupaka Reserve our design team are also working on the adjoining ‘town park’ known as Te Hauauru.  The 1.1ha park will provide a green heart to the area and create quality open space to support the future growth of Westgate.

“With a proposed café, a large lawn for events, picnic lawns, a water feature for children to play in, and landscaping with native and cherry trees, the park will give shoppers and future residents a green, open space to enjoy,” says Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair Vanessa Neeson.

‘Kia toitu he kauri’ translates as ‘Keep Kauri Standing’ and is the catch phrase of the Kauri Dieback Programme. Following are a series of images used in the design process for the park’s water feature. The kauri relief pattern is embedded and emerges out of a sequence of ground planes within the water feature. The idea evolved through series of meetings with iwi where stories of shared histories around milling and gum digging surfaced – then concerns about Kauri and dieback.

The imprint suggests we think about water quality, wai mauri, wai tapu, wai ora, wai maori – awareness of where we tread – what rests beneath us – death, decay, growth, and then new life.

Hero 1

The following images depict the design process from 3D computer modelling to physical modelling and CAD drawings – of the water feature.

The photograph of the Kauri bark is transformed to a photoshop file and manipulated to form layers which are given height to create a unique fingerprint of the tree bark in digital terrain form. The process is then tested using our studio 3D printer to produce a number of test maquettes at 1:20 scale. Then a 1:1 scale 4.4m x 4.0m 3D routed MDF plug is crafted enabling a silicone rubber mould to be produced. This then allows pre-cast concrete panels to be produced that form the bottom of the water feature.

Hawkins Construction are building the park, due to be completed this spring. Isthmus have provided both architecture and landscape architecture services.


Connections Reflections: State

18 May

A preview of one of the exhibition images “State” by Haylea Muir.

This Saturday the 20th May of the outdoor photographic exhibition Connections Reflections Auckland opens on Queens Wharf, Downtown Auckland New Zealand.
Isthmus are proud to announce that Haylea Muir is one of 7 photographers chosen to shoot and curate the exhibition under the guidance of top International Photographer Tom Ang.

Continue reading

Petone to Melling Cycleway

18 May

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 5.52.01 PM (2)

The proposed Wellington to Hutt Valley Walking and Cycling Link (W2HV) will be a game-changing connection in Wellington region’s cycling and walking network. It offers a healthy and safe route around the harbour edge and beyond. This has long been a missing link for walkers and cyclists.

Pages from 4068 NZTA W2HV Open day info boards 2017 .15

The project is divided into three sections. NZTA are currently seeking public feedback on the Petone to Melling (P2M) section which includes an update on the Ngauranga to Petone (N2P) harbour edge section. The Wellington CBD to Ngauranga section will be delivered by Wellington City Council.

Isthmus have been working with NZTA, Aecom and Incite on the design of the N2P and P2M sections over the last couple of years. All going well, the P2M section will begin construction, and the preferred option for N2P will be out for public consultation before the end of the year. We’re looking forward to progressing this transformational project.



Project posters can be found here:

Ralph Johns to speak at Landscape Australia Conference in Sydney.

4 May


Isthmus CEO Ralph Johns will be speaking at the Landscape Australia conference this weekend. He’ll talk about Isthmus’ kaupapa – Land, People and Culture – and illustrate this through the award-winning landscape projects of Taumanu Reserve and Kopupaka Reserve. He will join renowned Australian academic and historian Bill Gammage in a panel discussion.

“Through inspiring keynote presentations and lively panel discussions the Landscape Australia Conference will explore the dynamic role of landscape in the design, planning and management of gardens, cities and regions.”

The conference will be held on Saturday, 6 May 2017 at the Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney.

Full list of conference speakers and program here.


Frank Gehry’s Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the UTS Business School borders The Goods Line by Aspect Studios and CHROFI. Image: Florian Groehn




RMLA Visual Simulation Roadshow 20 April – 11 May

20 Apr

Last year Isthmus Director Brad Coombs had a stint as a Commissioner on the Rural Chapters for the Queenstown Lakes District Plan review.

Through the course of the hearings Brad had conversations with local lawyers, including Marie Baker-Galloway, the President of the Resource Management Law Association.  Those conversations highlighted the difference in the use and quality of visual simulations (amongst other graphic material) in Resource Management hearings around the country.
So, Brad suggested a visual simulation roadshow to help applicants, specialists and decisions makers to understand the use, limitation and benefits of visual simulations in the consenting process.

Along with Alan England, our visual simulation expert, Brad will be presenting to nine RMLA Branches throughout New Zealand from 20 April to 18 May. The Wellington presentation will be hosted in our Chews Lane studio.

Dates and locations: