Hasting Civic Square
S&T joined forces with Moorehead and Newdick Landscape Architects and AECOM Davis Langdon to create a concept, Whenua, for this open square, the largest open space within the Hastings CBD. The intent was to reinvigorate a valued public area and make a vibrant hub at the heart of the Hastings community with multipurpose internal and external spaces for a range of events and performances. Through this, the designers aimed to represent all the cultures of Hastings and the position of the mana whenua.
A simple linear insertion was proposed, yet it is a concept that can deal with all the urban design and landscape issues of the site as well as becoming a vessel for bringing together the cultures of the district.
The linear insertion was defined by a large earth wall representing the whenua or earth of Hastings, the key to the identity of the local tangata whenua and a vessel that can collect the culture and heritage of the various peoples of Hastings. The walls define an edge, creating a strong backbone to the square. Together with the memorial library on the Karamu Street axis, an L shape is formed which focuses attention out to the commercial/retail heart of the city along Heretuanga Street. The junction where these two edges meet creates the primary gathering space for the square in front of the entrance to the memorial library.
The walls stagger in and out to accommodate the existing buildings. The portion in front of the art gallery sits forward to provide the backdrop for this main gathering space terminating the main approach along Karamu Street. It is envisioned that in front of this wall is where performances would take place or that people would be greeted during a pōwhiri or other ceremony.
When there is no performance there will be water jets set into the paving for children to play in, providing the everyday entertainment. The gaps in between the sections of walls are the thoroughfare routes, where connections are made with Lyndon Road East and the civic buildings. Along the walls the connections are made between the art gallery and the library.
Over top of this wall runs a covered internal street, a social/meeting/exhibition/performance space behind which are a series of simple multipurpose enclosed spaces. The junction between the library and the art gallery becomes a wider atrium like space. This is the main entry point off the square as well as being a through route to the Lyndon Road East. A reception counter for the complex which also acts as a relocated iSite and “Produce of the Bay” shop is positioned for maximum exposure to the passing foot traffic.
The landscape design takes its place from the settlement patterns of the Hastings plains representing a rich indigenous and exotic heritage. The generous large grassed area is retained while smaller spaces are created for sculpture and community gardens.
The design was an entry for the Hastings Civic Square Competition for which it was awarded Merit.