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Whitireia Library Learning Centre, Porirua, NZ
Porirua, Aotearoa New Zealand

Project Team

Landscape Architect :  Wraight + Associates
Architect :  Athfield Architects
Engineer :  SKM
Client :  Whitireia Polytechnic
Project Status: Completed

Project Objectives

  • Develop Library Learning Centre in accordance with the Whitireia Campus Master Plan (WCMP).
  • Develop a site identity that is unique to the Whitireia Campus, responds to challenging physical site conditions and compliments the facility’s educational and community goals.
  • Create flexible, comfortable and practical external space that can accommodate a range of uses and gathering types.
  • Provide on-site parking.

Key Features

  • The Library Learning landscape harnesses the site’s challenging physical conditions – poor ground conditions and strong northerly salt laden winds – to develop a series of sunken reed gardens, tightly planted tree copses and sheltered open spaces.
  • The landscape narrative, in communion with the new Library Learning facility, hinges on the site’s harbour side location, employing a metaphorical abstraction of the landed waka transitioning from sea to shelter to define spatial order.
  • Pavement storm water run-off is detained and filtered through sunken reed gardens that dissect the car parking area and frame buildings
  • Harvested roof run-off is captured and reticulated within a large water-feature annexed off the building’s eastern facade.
  • Excess roof-run off is discharged into the adjacent constructed ephemeral wetland that ‘stitches’ the Library Learning Centre into its harbour context.
  • New pedestrian circulation routes provide clear campus navigation cues and amenity whilst existing circulation routes are upgraded and clarified.


Bronze Award NZILA for commercial/industrial/institutional design – 2006