Water wharf : rediscovering the natural processes that support urban life

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Geary, Whitney
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Austin, Michael
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Halsey Wharf extension (Auckland, N.Z.)
Viaduct Harbour (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
water treatment
urban run-off
soil runoff
New Zealand
Geary, W. (2012). Water wharf : rediscovering the natural processes that support urban life. An unpublished explanatory document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Master of Architecture (Professional) degree at Unitec Institute of Technology.
There is an urgency to find intelligent solutions for supplanting and diversifying water treatment to stop polluted water reaching our oceans. In New Zealand, soil run-off is the largest threat to our marine ecosystem and urban landscapes contribute litter, sediment, harmful chemicals, heavy metals and nutrients to the mix. Auckland City has very little infrastructure in place to treat its urban run-off, thus it was suggested as a pilot location for this project. This project envisions an environmentally friendly and aesthetically compelling urban run-off treatment facility that will enhance the development of urban communities. A proportion of the city’s stormwater pipes are intercepted and redirected to a treatment facility in the Viaduct Harbour; a location chosen for its conspicuity, its predisposition for receiving gravitational water flow, and for its established pedestrian accessibility. The process of water purification acts as a connective tissue through an environment that provokes a renewed relationship to water. As the water reaches its final stages of treatment, it becomes an interactive element in the form of fresh water streams, remediation wetlands, recreational estuarine pools and habitats for marine life. The water treatment facility supplies clean water to a freshwater habitat, with the aim of recovering whitebait populations; as well as returning purified water to the harbour. The mechanistic infrastructure of waterworks is transformed into an interactive and sensory series of purification strategies. Combined with platforms, piers, water tanks, restaurants, recreational pools and channels; water-based landscapes become organisational moments for community awareness. The proposed site is the area of Auckland City’s Viaduct Harbour intended for the extension of Halsey Wharf. It lies between the original Freemans Bay and Commercial Bay.
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