Photographer - Simon Wilson
Victoria On The River
Over the years opportunities to link the Hamilton CBD with the Waikato River have come and gone without the establishment of any significant connections. This project presented a fresh opportunity to create meaningful visual and physical connections with one of our cities best natural assets. At a macro level the design seeks to establish a park that serves two functions. Firstly, as a destination where people can pause, interact and enjoy river views. Secondly as a device that links the disparate levels of the lower river path, upper promenade and main street.
"Another paradigm shift in Hamilton. At last, a well-planned and well executed connection has been established between the CBD and the river that runs through the city and was the reason for its foundation. The park’s siting and shaping, its generous scale and high-level of amenity have immediately rendered it a valuable civic asset. The design entices people to enter and encourages them to linger. Part viewing platform, part piazza, Victoria on the River is a further example of highly successful public urban space in regional New Zealand."
- NZIA National Jury
"This riverine park is a compelling new connection between Hamilton’s city centre and its great, although often ignored, feature: the Waikato River. The amphitheatre park mixes meticulously detailed urban elements – a refined material palette and complementary planting – with stepped gardens, terraces and wide boardwalks that are universally accessible so that all may enjoy the setting. The overall effect is of peace and calm, although there is no doubt the environment could easily scale up from lunching workers to larger crowds enjoying a riverside event."
- NZIA Waikato / Bay of Plenty Jury
In order to differentiate this park from the rest of the city and to provide a rich texture, a variety of surface treatments were chosen. These finishes include acid washed concrete, rock salt finished concrete and a selection of basalt stone types and modules. Split face stone is used along the edges of the terraces to allow the visually impaired to delineate changes in level.