Te Ngākau Civic Precinct Framework, Wellington
Client: Wellington City Council
Te Ngākau Civic Precinct is Wellington’s unique civic place: an anchor point that connects the central city and the waterfront, both a place and a gateway between the city and the harbour. The precinct is the result of Wellington’s evolving planning, civic and architectural ideals of the 20th Century and represents an enduring place for Wellingtonians to engage with civic life. Most of all, it is a place that Wellingtonians identify with and love.
The precinct is entering a phase of transition. The civic buildings and assets within the precinct are in various states of operation. Some are currently closed, due to earthquake damage or as a precaution due to seismic risks, such as the Wellington City Library, the Civic Administration Building (CAB), the Municipal Office Building (MOB), Wellington iSite, car parks and Capital E. The Town Hall is currently under repair but the square itself, Michael Fowler Centre and the City Gallery remain open. Beyond seismic resilience challenges, the precinct faces significant issues relating to the management of water, including current flooding and inundation issues and the overall threat that climate change and sea level rise poses to this coastal precinct, which will increase over time.
While some of these buildings, like the Town Hall and the Central Library, are on a course to repair and restoration and will see out another era in the square, there are still outstanding issues that require resolution to reinstate Te Ngākau as the vibrant heart of the city. These range from significant resilience issues to spatial issues relating to how the precinct is laid out, connected and accessed as well as individual building performance, programming, and activities. In addition, the affordability of restoring Te Ngākau is a major issue for Council, who, given the current financial constraints, cannot afford to fund this alone.
A thriving and resilient Te Ngākau would enrich our community, local economy, and natural environment at a time when the Capital city faces increasingly complex challenges from population growth, climate change, housing pressures and the decline of infrastructure. Rather than addressing each issue and site in isolation, the framework developed by TPG provides the strategic approach required to ensure decision making for all components contributes to the vision for Te Ngākau.
Te Ngākau is the beating heart of our capital city: A thriving neighbourhood where creativity, culture, democracy, discovery, and arts experiences collide on the edge of Te Whānganui-a-Tara.
The vision and principles form a strong alignment with the overall goals for the city as defined by the spatial plan.
The concept plan identifies where change and transformation are required to deliver on the vision, objectives, and policies.
One of the first changes to be delivered will be the development proposed for the Michael Fowler Centre car park. This development is the start of the transformation and will provide activation of a currently underutilised area.
An architect's drawing of the proposed Willis Bond development in central Wellington appears to show a pedestrian-priority path across Jervois Quay.
Image supplied by Willis Bond.