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ASLA 2003 Analysis and Planning Honor Award

Highbrook Business Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Landscape Architect:
Peter Walker and Partners, Berkeley, CA
Owner/Client: Highbrook Development, Ltd.

The plan for the Highbrook Business Park in New Zealand transformed the former horse farm into a park development of office and light manufacturing with supporting commercial, retail, and professional uses. The task included the protection and use of the existing natural, cultural, and aesthetic amenities. Built on a 477-acre peninsula that juts out into the Tamaki River, a tributary of Auckland Harbor, it contains some 9.5 miles of scenic waterfront as well as half of an extinct volcano crater. The existing hedgerows, wooden fences, and poplar windrows of the farm create a large grid overlaying the gently rolling ridgeline of the peninsula. The concept plan embraces the farm vocabulary of vernacular architecture, hedgerows, paddocks, and fences, which embodies the classic New Zealand landscape and provides inspiration for the character of Highbrook.

The building sites—arranged within the grid lines generated from the sight lines to Mount Wellington and recalling the existing farm roads and paddocks—lie on the shelves of ancient beachheads rising from the shoreline road to the top of the ridge and afford each row of buildings a water view over the buildings below. Trees are placed on the sides of the sites where they will not block views, producing windrows that step down the shelves parallel to the view lines. Commercial retail uses of the park, including food and service stores, are arranged along a ridgeline road with parking behind. Professional offices and medical and dental services are located above the shops and stores. The new Highbrook Square, occupying a small prominence reaching out into the bay, will include a small hotel, the first services and shops, and a health club and gymnasium. Special care was given to design the development to respect the pre-European land use of the Maori people and their continuing cultural use of the site. The carefully designed infrastructure elements and natural systems work together to create a unique system that both functions efficiently and aesthetically addresses the needs of the development and park users.

Click photo for larger image.
Right click to download full size image Southern Motorway/Waiouru Interchange—View from southern motorway toward the entrance to Highbrook Business Park, Waiouru interchange and Manukau City. (Images by Chris Grubbs)
Right click to download full size image Pukekiwiriki Crater—View into Pukekiwiriki Crater, foreground to Highbrook Business Park (Images by Chris Grubbs)
Right click to download full size image Highbrook Drive—View of Highbrook Drive through the southern esplanade looking north along Highbrook development frontage (Images by Chris Grubbs)
Right click to download full size image Maungarei Parkway—Maungarei Parkway looking west toward the southern esplanade on axis with Mount Wellington in the distance (Images by Chris Grubbs)
Right click to download full size image Mainstreet—View of South Mainstreet urban pedestrian corridor defined by zero setback small business units (Images by Chris Grubbs)
Right click to download full size image Highbrook Crossing—Highbrook Crossing entry feature, a promontory field connecting Highbrook Drive with north and south Main Street, providing views toward Highbrook Square and Mount Wellington (Images by Chris Grubbs)
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