Greenification without Boundaries
Positioned in the former Waitakere Mega Centre in Henderson, open-air shopping precinct The Boundary is undergoing an aesthetic and environmental Renaissance, and for lead landscape architect Richard Greenwood it’s a project that’s as proudly personal as it is professional. Australian by birth, Richard sailed across the ditch nearly 30 years ago, and, thanks to the alluring beauty of our natural landscape , simply “never went back”. Now he’s having a hand in incorporating that landscape into an upcoming corner of West Auckland.
“West Auckland is cool, it’s a cool wonderful place to live and it would take a lot to make me leave there,” says Piha-based Richard. “I love being part of the Waitakere Ranges, and that’s why I’m so thrilled about being part of this project because I feel connected to it. I’m proud of what we are trying to do there.”
Working with a multi-disciplinary team including architects, foot and vehicle traffic planners, and branding studio Akin, Richard is tasked with creating a “connection between the Waitakeres and the urban environment”. Native flora throughout the complex will be complemented by eco-inspired prints and motifs.
“We’re not going for super chic swaths of black and silver—though there are blacks there,” comments Richard. “Rather we’re leaning towards colours like karaka and darker greens and olive tones for that feeling you would get in the bush. The planting will be random and there may be three or four different species in an area only a metre-squared so as the project develops you should feel biodiversity everywhere you look.”
Richard has designed a lookout “similar to what you might find in the Waitakeres” that will be surrounded by kauri and kahikatea trees, with a walkway built from local timber above plantings of the likes of flax. Creepers will wrap around steel poles while a continuous canopy will link the carpark and upper level. “All the colours and motifs around The Boundary are extrapolated from leaves and seeds of native trees,” he adds. “Everything should blend to give the feeling that you’re in the ranges, to give the site that identity. Potential habitats will be created, too.”
The “rough and ready” reputation of the area Richard says needs to be consigned to the past: “Things have changed, it’s so much more sophisticated. There are a lot of young homeowners who want to buy good coffee, who want to have a nice place to shop and eat and feel comfortable, and that is what’s coming. What the group has designed so far is all very cool appropriate , it has a feel about it that will appeal to the old residents as well as the new creating an identity that all can be proud of.”
A highlight will be bespoke public seating carved from squared logs of the “highest quality timber”.
“We don’t want a generic rustic landscape that will dilapidate in a few years’ time,” says Richard. “The plantings are sustainable and everything about it has sustainable feel. It’s built to last.”