Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

Unitec lecturers make final cut for Queens Wharf design

Three Unitec lecturers from the Department of Landscape Architecture have made the final shortlis


Three Unitec lecturers from the Department of Landscape Architecture have made the final shortlist in the competition to redesign Auckland’s Queens Wharf.

Peter Griffiths, Hamish Foote and Den Aitken’s conceptual design of the wharf is one of five winning entries to make the final cut. It is the only entry that has been led by landscape architects.

Around 250 designs by some of the country’s top architects and architecture firms were submitted to the competition.

“It’s fantastic that the consortium of judges has been able to see the importance of landscape architecture design in these big projects,” says Griffiths.

“From a Unitec perspective, this lends even more weight to what we have been developing here for years and that is that we very much practice what we teach.”

Contestants were asked to come up with a design to convert Queens Wharf into a space for the public to enjoy, that could also cater to major events as well as provide a new primary terminal to support the projected growth of the cruise ship industry.

The Unitec trio’s design was based around the idea of “shift” that would allow the space within the complex to be adjusted to suit the various types of activities being planned for the wharf such as a live site for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

“The whole notion relates to the context of the existing site, the plain of the harbour, and the historic patterns of the wharf so the idea is to allow the space to be moved and changed to cater to the different uses for the space,” says Denis Aitken.

“The complex is a wharf so we wanted to maintain the character and the structural integrity of the site rather than design something new and lavish.”

The trio’s design includes a promenade that runs through the middle of the wharf linking the various plaza spaces on both sides.

Aitken says the opportunity to be part of such a competition was too good to pass up.

“This is the first time the public has been asked to submit their ideas and designs around Queens Wharf, and that was a challenge we wanted to be part of.”

According to the judging panel that included the three chief executives of the Ministry of Economic Development, Auckland Regional Council and Auckland City Council, and an advisory panel comprising Professor John Hunt, Ian Athfield, Rebecca Skidmore, Jillian de Beer and Graeme McIndoe, the Unitec lecturers had submitted a design that had “considerable potential”.

The five winning designs will now go onto Stage 2 of the competition where they will develop their concepts further. The winning designed will be announced in November.

Written by


6 Oct 2009

Interests Unitec New Zealand Here we educate people for work, in work and through work with a comprehensive portfolio of programmes extending from certificates and diplomas through to degrees and doctorates, across a wide range of professional and vocational areas.