The r+m entry for the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial was entitled [the] EMBRACE.
The word 'Embrace' means holding, supporting, protecting, including and accepting, as a welcome or a sign of friendship, often after loss. r+m used 'Embrace' as a site metaphor for sensitively weaving together in memory, reflection, and regeneration the people affected by this tragedy.
r+m's entry featured a dialogue between history, culture, and natural systems woven in a series of rich, dynamic, and reflective design interventions throughout the site. A seam of stone memorizing those who lost their lives provides our collective experiences with a nexus. 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 chance to gather in remembrance. A canopy of 17 trees, aligned to the epicentre of the February 22, 2011, earthquake, recognises the nationalities of those who have passed while embracing new life and vitality. A bridge, dedicated to those who reached out to help, reaches out to Friendship Corner and the Christchurch's heart subtly.
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.
r+m presented a proposal for an inner city lifestyle block that demonstrates an innovative, comprehensive solution, to residential development of medium-high density in Christchurch, post-earthquakes. r+m led a team of consultants in design, engineering, and development to submit an entry promoting a more affordable, sustainable, and interactive way of living.
Fundamental to the r+m proposal is the innovative master plan that involves a carefully designed built form to ensure a variety of interesting outdoor spaces are formed. 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 among the top 10 out of 90 entries. There has been no development of the winning entry and the site remains fallow.
The r+m entry was selected as one of five finalists to develop a 5.0-hectare site adjacent to Te Papa. The r+m vision for the Park was one of reclamation, in collaboration with a team of consultants - reclaiming history, lost ecology, and reclaiming this part of the waterfront for the people of Wellington City.
r+m's proposal included a large grassy open space, a stormwater treatment wetland, pedestrian walks, car parks, and foreshore redevelopment. Although their proposal did not win the competition, the Technical Advisory Group ranked it second in terms of meeting the criteria for project design.
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 large green open spaces, lush native vegetation, and soft organic forms into an urban landscape characterized by sharp edges, and hard surfaces.
The creation of green, open space with strong connections to the water's edge would provide a distinct identity for Queens Wharf, unique from its surroundings. By considering Queens Wharf as an extension of Queen Street, a series of 'green connections' could be made that link the wharf to downtown Auckland's heart.
By introducing the concept of nature "reclaiming" the wharf, r+m identified the possibility of transmitting a sense of tension between the rigid infrastructure of the wharf and the natural process that takes shape throughout the site. A unique juxtaposition between man and nature would be created by vegetation climbing through eroded infrastructure and buildings emerging from landforms. The idea was to invite the occupants of the wharf to contemplate the origins of their surroundings, and particularly the ground they walk on – natural or artificial? r+m were unsuccessful with their entry.
Collaborating with the Canterbury Horticultural Society, r+m created an avant-garde entry that challenged the norm of Ellerslie. LOVE (IN) YOUR GARDEN is a sculptural rooftop garden that tells a love story combining romance, fertility, and resilience aspects. In a regenerating post-earthquake landscape, this is told through a sculptural display of abstracted flower anatomy.
A stamen grove dances metaphorically in a romantic display of affection around the pistil. Familiar survival items fill the anthers on top of the filaments instead of the pollen typically fertilizing the pistil. This alludes to both the idea of fertility and the support that our living spaces require if we are to be self-supporting and resilient. Drifts of flowering wildflowers between crushed rubble areas represent the vibrant flower petals that provide a setting for the dance of love. A silver with distinction medal was awarded to the garden.