The Northcrest plaza design has recently won gold at the NZILA Awards 2010 under the catagory of Landscape Design - Urban Design. A big thank you to all those who helped us throughout this process; Beca Infrastructure and Manukau City Council, Streetscape (construction of feature seat), Fel. Group Limited (streetscape furniture), Arrow International and Auckland Stonemasons.
The redevelopment of the Northcrest plaza at the corner of Great South Road and Station Road in Manurewa came about as part of Manukau City Council’s ‘Town Centre Strategy’ which sets out ‘to unlock the economic, social, cultural & physical development potential of each of the city’s town centre’s.’
The new design set out to provide a significant open space where the local community is able to meet casually and feel comfortable and safe as well as providing a unique and inviting gathering space for small community events.
Extensive consultation was undertaken to engage the local community and achieve a high level of ‘buy in’ throughout the design process. A legend told by a local Kaumatua provided an underlying design generator which is embodied in the design of the plaza and its furnishings.
The legend tells the story of a warrior who laid down shells to warn him of any oncoming enemy but was thwarted by his foe who covered the shells with his cloak, and stormed the pa.
Key materials used in the plaza borrow on and reinforce existing local themes as well as interpreting the legend. Basalt walls used around the nearby Manurewa Central School appear in the plaza providing separation from the busy road and definition of a distinct regular plaza area aligned with Great South Road.
A large feature seat is designed to be used as a communal ‘whanau seat’ or alternatively it can be used as a small stage for community events.
The Northcrest Plaza was opened by the Mayor of Manukau City, Len Brown on November 26 2009. It was celebrated as a significant and much needed addition to the Manurewa Town Centre infrastructure and as the major civic space for the community.