Four Reasons Why La Rosa Daylighting Project is a Design all Cities Must Have
Article by Joanna Łaska – La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting Project, by Boffa Miskell, in Auckland, New Zealand.
Auckland’s La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting project by Boffa Miskell is an outstanding example of design work that can bring us closer to nature. It embodies the very nature of ecology and sustainability, and is one of these projects that grasps ecological, cultural, and community values and brings them all together to create a space for people to enjoy and learn from.
1. Hard Work Always Pays Off
The La Rosa Stream project didn’t just jump from the design page to reality. It required a lot of hard work from the designers and contractors who met challenges involving design, consent, and construction.
The project required the removal of 5,000 cubic meters of natural clay. The next step involved bringing up 200 meters of watercourse that had previously flowed through underground 100mm- to 1,350mm-diameter pipes – that meant that the contractors had to remove 180 meters of underground pipes. Bringing the water up was just a small part of the whole project: Once the water was up, it had to be given a natural look.
That meant that Boffa Miskell had to think of a surrounding design depicting the one in the natural environment. Because of that, when all of the pipes were removed, stream gullies had to be shaped and lined with geotextile and quarried stone to prevent erosion.
Even though the original bottom of the stream was mostly mud and sand, Boffa Miskell came up with an alternative solution for the bedding in the daylight stream. The designers opted for stone landscaping to give the stream and its surroundings a more natural look. Not only does this solution look better, it also prevents the water from scouring out of the clay still present in the layers underneath the stream.
2. Details Make the Difference
The La Rosa project is an exquisite example of thoughtful landscape planning and superb detailing. Everything about this project seems to be carefully thought out: Every single stone placement seems to be planned, and that is what makes this design a role model for all landscape architects – for those who are less experienced and for those who have already made hundreds of projects in their career.
The thoughtful planning can be easily seen in the subtle elevation of boulders adjacent to the new bridges. This intervention makes users more aware of the ambient sound of falling water. The care and detail is also clear to see in the well-designed plantings and walkways that also help people to enjoy the space.
A few trees had to be removed from the area, providing not only more usable space for visitors, but also providing logs that were then placed along the banks of the stream to imitate the natural habitat for micro- and macro-organisms that will provide food for the eels and fish living in the stream.
3. The Most Liveable City in the World
La Rosa is the first-ever dedicated stream daylighting project in Auckland. It is part of the city mayor’s 100 projects to make Auckland “the most liveable city in the world”. It was designed to not only restore the natural stream, but also to reuse and embody the energy in that place. The project is mostly made of natural and reused elements. However, the project also has another purpose: to bring the Auckland community together.
The project contractors have involved the community in helping to create this wonderful place. Food-growing enthusiasts have been offered a spot to locate rain barrels, so that watering of their own planted orchards can be made easy and ecological. Also, the community of La Rosa has thought about creating a permanent space for their monthly get-togethers. La Rosa Stream is a genesis of a positive change within the community of Auckland that demonstrates how easily projects can and should bring people together.
4. Learning from Nature
Despite the construction of the project being an expensive exercise, the hard work and investment will definitely pay off in the long term, as having a natural stream rather than a huge amount of underground pipes that need upgrading and maintenance is always a financial benefit. However, the project’s success is not just being calculated in numbers, but in the development of knowledge in hydrology and ecology.
Nearby schools are already enjoying the benefits of learning opportunities from the park. Local schools and community centers have been widely involved in water monitoring, planting, and creating permanent art pieces.
Many people who visit the La Rosa Stream Daylight Project are visibly thrilled to see the new life being given to the streams in their reserve. The natural look of the once artificial and underground-bound stream has become a peaceful asylum from their busy everyday lives, and has also helped to restore the natural lifecycle that had once been lost.
It is easy to see from La Rosa’s example that it is possible to make a natural oasis in the heart of the city. Can you think of a space in your town or city that could be transformed into a natural park?
Full Project Credits For La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting Project:
Project Name: La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting
Design: Boffa Miskell
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Date of Completion: 2012
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Farrs
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Article by Joanna Łaska
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