The r+m entry for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial was entitled [the] EMBRACE.
The word ‘Embrace’ implies to hold closely, to support, protect, include and accept, often after loss, as a welcome or a sign of friendship. r+m used ‘Embrace’ as a site metaphor to sensitively weave people affected by this tragedy together in remembrance, reflection and regeneration.
r+m's entry featured a dialogue between history, culture and natural systems that is woven through the site in a series of rich, dynamic and reflective design interventions. A seam of stone memorialising those who lost their lives provides a nexus for our collective experiences. Names are inscribed with the youngest cradled in the centre and their elders surrounding, protecting them.
Terraces engage with the river, inviting play and prospect while offering the opportunity to gather to remember. A canopy of 17 trees, aligned to the epicentre of the February 22 2011 earthquake, acknowledges the nationalities of those who have passed while espousing new life and vitality. A bridge, dedicated to those who reached out to help, itself subtly reaches out to Friendship Corner and the heart of Christchurch.
The r+m entry is simple yet powerful and emotive, re-connecting people with the land, their memories and future generations with the tragedy that has been. The r+m entry did not win the competition, however they are fortunate that their offices look out on the winning entry that has since been constructed.
A proposal for an inner city lifestyle block that demonstrates an innovative, comprehensive solution to medium-high density residential development for Christchurch, post earthquakes. r+m led a team of design, engineering and development consultants to submit an entry that promotes a more affordable, sustainable and interactive way of living.
Fundamental to the r+m proposal is the innovative master plan that involves a careful arrangement built form to ensure the formation of a variety of interesting outdoor spaces. The landscapes serve a variety of functions including public and private circulation, storm water purification and collection, community recreation and gathering, and secluded places for rest and relaxation. The r+m proposal was ranked in the top 10 of 90 entries. The winning entry has not been developed and the site remains fallow.
The r+m entry for the development of a 5.0 hectare site adjacent to Te Papa was selected as one of five finalists. In collaboration with a team of consultants the r+m vision for the Park was one of reclamation - reclaiming history, lost ecologies and reclaiming this part of the waterfront for the people of Wellington city.
r+m's proposal included a large grassed open space, a wetland to treat storm water, pedestrian promenades, car parks and redevelopment of the foreshore. Although their proposal did not win the competition it was ranked second by a Technical Advisory Group in terms of meeting the project design criteria.
The r+m entry for the Queens Wharf, Auckland Design Competition considered the concept of natural processes “reclaiming” Queen’s wharf. Their entry created an opportunity to introduce immense green open spaces, lush native vegetation and soft organic forms into an urban landscape that is characterized by sharp edges and hard surfaces.
The creation of a green, open space with strong connections to the water’s edge would provide Queens wharf with a distinct identity, unique from its surrounds. By considering Queens Wharf as an extension of Queen Street, it would be possible to make a series of ‘green connections’ which link the wharf with the heart of down town Auckland.
Through introducing the concept of nature ‘reclaming’ the wharf, r+m identified the opportunity to convey a sense of tension between the wharf’s rigid infrastructure, and the natural process that take form throughout the site. Vegetation climbing through eroded infrastructure, and buildings emerging out of landforms, would create a unique juxtaposition between man and nature. The idea was to prompt the wharf’s occupants to contemplate the origins of their surroundings, and indeed the ground they walk on – natural or artificial? r+m were not successful with their entry.
Collaborating with the Canterbury Horticultural Society r+m designed an avant garde entry that challenged the Ellerslie norm. LOVE (IN) YOUR GARDEN is a sculptural roof top garden that tells a love story combining aspects of romance, fertility, and resilience. This is told through a sculptural display of abstracted flower anatomy within a regenerating post-earthquake landscape.
A grove of stamen metaphorically dance around the pistil in a romantic display of affection. Familiar survival items fill the anthers atop the filaments in place of the pollen that would typically fertilise the pistil. This alludes to both the idea of fertility and the sustenance required of our living spaces if we are to be self-sustaining and resilient. Drifts of wildflowers blooming among areas of crushed rubble represent the vibrant flower petals that provide a setting for the love dance. The garden was awarded a silver with distinction medal.