Conducted Walk of Buckley Neighbourhood, Hobsonville Point
The Society was privileged to have one of Isthmus Group’s senior landscape architects, Haylea Muir, conduct us over some of their installed work in the first neighbourhood of Auckland’s rapidly emerging suburb of Hobsonville Point, centred on Buckley Avenue. Isthmus are the ‘lead’ planners and landscape architects for the entire suburb and are responsible for the planning and landscape treatment of its public domain. It is a massive brief that will extend over many years as each neighbourhood is opened up under eight building franchises. The design ethos is built into a Design Guide and the emergence of this design-led development has attracted wide attention, even from overseas.
The walk centred not only on the public realm planting design but the interface of the public and private realms at the legal front boundary. We were introduced to such devices as the setting back of low walls within the ‘private’ front yards and the intentional planting of the resultant space behind the footpath so as to enhance the sense of open space; kerbside parking within blocks of planting, a broad sward on Buckley Avenue which acts as a small park for children’s games; and extensive provision of swales. We were impressed with the carefully thought-through landscape themes in different streets, and the sense of coherence within each one.
We also visited the award-winning playground in De Haviland Rd with its great use of highly tactile sculpture, the wide palette of robust native plants, and the sense of ‘challenge’ afforded the children. We passed through the recreation area that extends from there to the estuary, including the well-planted and established filter lagoons.
The walk attracted a high attendance of 25 members, partners and friends. Haylea gave a brilliant commentary throughout, and fielded so well a vast range of questions. Her knowledge and understanding of the planting programmes was such a benefit to us. Haylea also enabled us to understand what a sophisticated management structure there is to uphold and pursue the design ideals which have been set for the Point, not least through the Government-ledHobsonvilleLand Company. This innovative development is something in which the landscape design-and-build professions can be proud, and we can anticipate further phases with confidence.