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A decade ago, the first phase of work at Kumutoto tied the waterfront back to the city and acknowledged the history and cultural importance of the area.

Ten years later, Kumutoto stage two is complete with a new public space development catalysed by the construction of a new building on Site 10, and proposals for Site 9 that offer new ways to enjoy Wellington’s waterfront.

Wellington waterfront

Wellington laneway

Wellington laneway

North Kumutoto extends the laneway, tracing the historic sea wall past the two new commercial buildings. At the water’s edge, a new open space – occupying ‘Site 8’ of Wellington waterfront framework – extends Isthmus’s original work on Kumutoto Plaza. As with stage one, the new work explores the interaction between water and land.

The Kumutoto Precinct sits on reclaimed land. Since the 1840s and 1970s, this has moved the water’s edge almost 300 metres from the historic shoreline. A change in emphasis from a working port to a recreational, cultural and commercial area, the Kumutoto Precinct (completed in 2006) and this new build have balanced the expression of the historic character with new public amenity.

Roof detail


Ferry building

The recognition for heritage is sewn throughout the Kumutoto precinct. The location holds spiritual significance to the Te Atiawa iwi and takes its name from the historic Pa which once overlooked the area. Heritage advisors and archaeologists have been key contributors ensuring the significance of the heritage buildings, features and elements are recorded, restored and protected. The area continues to be a working port, and this provides a vital historic link between the past and the present.

The original footprint of Custom House is subtly traced, which helps frame the laneway. The 1903 seawall trace is continued using an oxide concrete kerb.

The selection of Resene colours was no different, keeping true to history and the exposed environment of the waterfront. The original heritage wharf gates aligned with Balance Street have been restored to their former glory and finished with Resene Blast Grey 2 metallic that is consistent with many vertical elements on the waterfront from the pavilion, steel balustrades and long table bench seats to steel componentry on seats and bollards. A subtle colour palette was required in order to tie into the weathering of the cedar pavilion and the timber decking at Site 8. Exposed subfloor timber framing is finished in Resene Woodsman in Resene Pitch Black.

Roof structure

Light beacon

Waterfront sculpture

Wellington waterfront

There are pops of colour on the waterfront tying back to the shipping industry and maritime environment, including a sunny punch of Resene Turbo to seating which matches the historic bollards that march along the edges of the wharf. On the heritage Eastbourne ferry building, the subtle finish of Resene Buff is in keeping with the historic nature of the building.

The Wellington waterfront is an environment of extremes. From crystal clear summer days to bone chilling winter storms. The design response at Site 8 was to create a permeable structure that shades and protects while being allowed to ‘breathe’ with the changing environment. Wellington City Council, as long term stewards of the environment, shared the commitment to the specification of materials and systems with low environmental impact and design detailing that minimises waste and simplifies maintenance.

Because of the extreme environment durable engineered coatings feature throughout with Resene ArmourZinc 120. Resene Armourcote 220, Resene Imperite I.F.503, Resene Uracryl 402 and Resene Uracryl 403.

Conceived as a reinterpretation of Wellington’s wharves, the public space ‘floats’ above the coastal edge to shield and create habitats for flora and fauna for all to enjoy.

Architectural specifier: Isthmus Group
Building contractor: Peryer Construction Limited
Client: Wellington City Council
Painting contractor: Stevensons, DuCare
Photographer: David St. George
Other key contributor – architecture and conservation: Adam Wild, Archifact

Resene Total Colour Awards gallery

The Resene Total Colour Awards celebrate and encourage creative use of colour. For colour and decorating inspiration, browse through the hundreds of projects submitted...

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Resene Total Colour Awards 2019

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