Goom Landscapes were approached by the project architects and lead designers, APG Architects, on behalf of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) to carry out the landscape architectural services for this project, from resource consent to completion. The construction of the project was tendered out and Goom Landscapes won the landscape construction aspect of the tender.
This project was especially special to both the community and FENZ as it was the first volunteer fire station to be rebuilt following the 2011 earthquakes of Christchurch. Being a volunteer station this space is very dear to the volunteers who are a tight knit group who spend a lot of time, training and relaxing, in this space. We wanted to set a benchmark with this project that set the standard of design and delivery for the numerous other fire stations to be built in Canterbury following its completion.
Much of the identity of Lyttelton is tied up with the port. The fire station has a close relationship with the port also with many of its volunteers working for or in service to the port. The Port of Lyttelton generously opened the gates to their stock of timber piles and various material to our landscape architect to pick through for repurposing into the station design. This had an added benefit of allowing this public space to link well with Albion Square, a short walk up the road that uses the same wharf timbers.
This particular station was baptized by fire – it was officially opened on February 18th, 2017 however the week previous it was operating 24/7 to fight the major Port Hills fires that ignited on February 13th. The station proved itself to operate brilliantly right off the mark.
One issue we were very mindful of and put a lot of forethought into was the large forecourt concrete pour. Access to Lyttelton is through the Lyttelton Tunnel. The large concrete pour required through planning to ensure the concrete trucks could arrive on time without delays (sometimes the tunnel is closed to allow for port traffic movements). The pour commenced at 5:30 in the morning and was complete by around 8:30am (we have a pretty cool timelapse on our Facebook page if you search back far enough).
The initial brief looked to fence off the grassed area – we proposed instead to open this up and to create an open inviting site. One could say that this has been a little too successful in fact with the public being drawn to this space daily. The client has since had to add no parking signs to make sure tourists don’t park in the volunteer car parks.
The final space has revealed a stunning site that has opened up magnificent views over the Lyttelton Harbour for the public. There are great details throughout that could only have happened at this station and with the brigade’s relationship with the port, from the salvaged shipping bollards to the reworked timber piles that are now memorial seats, traffic barriers, bollards and walls.
We believe we have fulfilled our brief to ourselves in creating a benchmark for the rest of the fire station rebuilds to aim for. This is evident in the repeat work we have received from FENZ as we now work with them on fire station designs throughout the country (twelve and counting). Watch this space and you’ll be sure to see our next fire station landscape, designed and built by our team, out at Woolston featured in the near future.