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Enhancing lives through design: WSP Architecture


At the start of any project, architects and designers must consider an important question; ‘How will the buildings and spaces we design affect people we may ourselves never meet?’

Words Hailey Sinke – Architectural Designer at WSP Architecture

At its most basic level, architecture exists to create the physical spaces in which people live, learn and work. But architecture is more than simply the built outcome; architecture influences our society and communities in a broader sense, and good design has the ability to strengthen connections within our communities, improve our health and wellbeing, inspire and anchor us to our place here in Aotearoa.

In addition to responding to the fundamental needs of clients by designing buildings which provide for their needs of physical space and functionality, as designers we must also consider how built outcomes will affect members of society who will use and frequent these spaces, both now and into the future.

Connecting and consulting with a range of stakeholders is hugely beneficial to final outcomes. Listening to and understanding the nuances of different clients and user groups – be it groups from central and local government agencies, school and community boards, local iwi, or building users such as staff, students or members of the public – positively influences the design process and final outcome.

Exploring innovative ways to bring the needs and ideas of clients and users together allows designers to create meaningful architecture.

Working on a range of community projects of varying scale and complexity, my intent is to create enduring, human-centric architecture for our communities and for future generations to enjoy.

 


 

The architecture of transportation hubs: WSP Architecture


It’s never been so important to attract and entertain visitors in our New Zealand towns and cities.

By Matt Sloper, Architect at WSP Architecture

A common problem faced by visitors and locals alike is access to transportation infrastructure.

Nationwide, councils are now looking to explore infrastructure developments designed to transform town centres, eliminating congestion issues, improving accessibility, providing new public amenity spaces and enhancing the visitor experience.

The key design driver for a transportation hub is a strong urban focus, resulting in high quality solutions that sit sympathetically within the urban context, address the surrounding street frontages, are inviting and safe, allow easy permeability through the site, provide added community amenity, and are well integrated with the surrounding neighbourhood.

Where natural beauty surrounds the sites; an appropriate design response is for the built insertions to be complementary with, but subservient to, the broader natural environment.

Texture, light, shade, materiality and colour are carefully considered to give the exteriors a sculptural quality, and one which adds interest whilst also reducing the overall visual impact.

These hubs service mixed transportation modes, including built-in capacity to accommodate greater numbers of electric vehicles in future.

Transportation hubs should embody connections with local culture and history, creating a distinctly local flavour that speaks of its place and reinforces the destination’s reputation as a meeting place and social and economic centre.

Although responding to a pragmatic functional need they make a positive contribution to the character and quality of New Zealand towns and cities for all to enjoy.


 

Embracing Design Practice


From small scale pavilion installations to large multi-unit developments, digital design technologies are radically shaping new avenues of design in architecture.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY FIRTH

 

Imagine being able to seamlessly collaborate between designers, clients, iwis, artists, consultants, and the council; produce designs without having to ‘draw’ a single line; undertake multiple design explorations in a fraction of the time of conventional methods; optimise material usage; minimise project waste and cost; and immerse yourself virtually in the design from concept to completion.

These are just a few of the real-world applications of digital design technologies available to designers today and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

By utilising digital design technologies in partnership with digital-led fabrication methods, we will start to see a challenge of the status quo on a commercial scale.

Instead of mass production we will see mass customisation, a process of file to fabrication, a reduction of time it takes to construct a building and a reduction of misinterpretations between those involved.

I believe that applying these digital technologies balances the ever-increasing demands of the built environment and produces refined architectural outcomes.

Be it a house extension or a new multi-unit development, why not take advantage of all the tools at hand and create something truly rewarding with a tailored fit?

 

BY WSP ARCHITECTURAL GRADUATE DANIEL CROOKS