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Whitireia Library Learning Centre, Porirua, NZ
Porirua, Aotearoa New Zealand

Project Team


Landscape Architect :  Wraight + Associates
Architect :  Athfield Architects
Engineer :  SKM
Client :  Whitireia Polytechnic
Project Status: Completed

Project Summary

This stage of the Whitireia landscape works comprises a landscape framework that interprets the site’s cultural and natural heritage, acknowledging and respecting its harbour-side location. In providing a network of varying spatial experiences this scheme affords not only amenity and sensory stimulation but in addition endeavours to mediate the affect of site generated stormwater run off and wind.

East-west shelter belts define a directional structure while also providing shelter. Where possible the design interventions have made physical reconnections between the site and the harbour.

The landscape narrative has been choreographed in close relationship with the development with the Library Learning Centre. The concept of the ‘housed waka’ is reiterated in the sunken wetland, a gouged depression tracing the waka’s pathway from sea to shelter. The densely planted wetland, reminiscent of the pre-reclamation harbour provides a receptacle for stormwater runoff from the new car park located to its north.

The car park is arranged to facilitate stormwater collection in eastwest oriented linear swales. Stormwater runoff is directed into the swales where it filters through densely planted reeds and a sandy biomedium. The swales treat the ‘first flush‘ component of stormwater run off discharging cleaner water back to Porirua Harbour. Less contaminated run off, in excess of the first flush, is directed into the existing stormwater system. Trees planted along the swales’ length contribute vertical articulation to an otherwise flat space and shelter from the predominant northerly wind.

The sealed pond collects the building’s roof stormwater runoff and filters it through a series of hydrophytic planting. The pond strengthens the waka narrative and provides a reflective setting and moat for the library’s outdoor deck at the buildings eastern end. Water is reticulated through this system and recharged during storm events, overflowing under the bridge into the adjacent wetland.

Indigenous native planting is used throughout the wetlands and gardens, with the trees being eco-sourced from littoral area of the Porirua Harbour.