Frank Kitts Park to Taranaki Street, Wellington
The site is a stretch of landscaped promenade on the Wellington Lambton Harbour waterfront extending from the south end of Frank Kitts Park to the Te Papa Forecourt. The promenade includes an area of refurbished Taranaki Wharf and associated reclaimed land.
This area is a spectacular physical environment encompassing various natural features such as the water and rocky harbour edge. It is home to a wealth of historical and newly built elements, such as the statue of Kupe, which transcend into the new metallic bridge from the end of Taranaki Wharf to the Frank Kitts Headlands. The existing textures of the wharf structures, intertwined with the new items of wharf furniture, make for one of New Zealand’s most eclectic and exciting precincts.
The following principles/objectives were developed as design guidelines for the lighting strategy:
- To create a new and unique publicly accessible, safe night-time environment from a robust and well-used day-time public space.
- To mark and signify elements so that they can be perceived or located from a distant water or land approach.
- To highlight the rhythms and changes in pace along the promenade to animate the night-time ‘journey’.
- To integrate lighting with the architectural or landscape features so that the lit environment highlights these features rather than the fittings themselves.
- To feature the material or formal qualities of existing elements or textures along the waterfront so that they contribute to the experience of evening promenading.
- To provide an energy-efficient lighting solution that utilises long-life lamps; s-elect luminaries that are designed and built to last in this marine environment.
Providing sufficient lighting levels for security and navigation was the central thread to this scheme. Blasting the environment with an unnecessarily high and even lux level across all spaces was not the objective, but rather ensuring that a clear well-lit path was marked.
The above effect this was created by a row of new purpose-built light masts, and by lighting the existing yellow tie up bollards along the wharf. This feature accentuates the linearity and structural rhythm of the wharf’s construction.
The tie up bollards are lit with stainless steel inground directionally set up lighters. We had to use 12 volt halogen lamps to achieve the required effect, so employed a 10,000-hour version for maximum lamp life. Careful placement of these fittings has resulted in the use of only one fitting per bollard.
A powerful day-time element and multi-functional piece of new wharf furniture, these light masts have a proprietary 150 watt metal halide luminaires, used in an upward orientation, with the light then reflected downward of a deflector. The resultant effect is wonderful large soft pools of light, and in combination with these a mix of further up/down light fixtures make the mast itself become a lit surface perpendicular to the direction of travel. These lights also light the banners that are attached to the mast from time-to-time.
Strong architectural or landscape features of the site are lit in a manner that allows for their perception and recognition from a distance, as well as articulating the journey to a promenader as a series of lit events. The perforated aluminium bridge balustrade is lit with a line of concealed blue fluorescents that render it as a floating blue veil from a distance reflecting across the water. Although the fluorescents are a proprietary fitting, they were carefully chosen for their light distribution by a series of trials. A special bracket was required to facilitate a mounting system that offered an appropriate method of being able to remove the fitting for lamp replacement and maintenance while still positioning the fitting for effect. Close up the cold blue of raw aluminium, and the shadows from the perforations, contrast with the warmer textures of the timber decking and the yellow in-deck LEDs tracking the path.
From a distance, the Kupe sculpture is dramatically uplit as a punctuation point in the wharf promenade. Closer inspection reveals the glowing riprap rocks lit under the cut out in the wharf by a variety of 70 and 150 watt metal halide projectors with differing colour temperature lamps and beam angles which emphasise the sculpture’s site on the edge of the land. The fitting’s position has been optimised by attaching it to the wharf under a web crate floor that acts to conceal of the fixture and as a glare shield. With only one 70 watt metal halide fitting utilised, this is a very resourceful solution.
Because of the acute angle of beams of light to the promenader’s view, the contrast of light and shade is accentuated. With the angle of the viewer changing as they walk, this reveals different illusions of the raw and rich textures and elements along the journey such as the water and rocky edge of the island.
Where new elements have been introduced to the environment, such as the range of waterfront ‘signature furniture’ — seating, bollards and light signage masts, these have been designed with the intention of fitting in with the context of marine/industrial items on a theme of balls, planks, and plates. Light fittings have been incorporated with these elements in a manner that blends their presence as elemental items, rather than drawing attention to the light fittings themselves. The hidden fluorescent bulkheads inside the spherical bollards are there to provide a ‘ring of light’ around the circumference of the sphere, emphasising the spherical hollow two-sided construction of the bollard, marking the ground and locating and identifying the bollard as a seat.
The light fittings were chosen on the basis of the light intensity, temperature, beam angle, energy efficiency and longevity of their luminaire, and durability and ability to survive in a harsh marine environment. Generally the aesthetic of exposed fittings is simple and ‘elemental’ to complement, rather than compete, with the robust and rugged landscape.