Re-vitalising Onehunga Wharf through the Recognition of Thresholds

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In the history of human settlement in New Zealand, the natural gift of water plays an important role in fostering our lives, where Auckland is naturally endowed with water bays and volcanic craters. Water edges are the places where communities develop. However, for most Aucklanders the natural gifted condition is being hidden by artificial framework for daily living, which is nowadays predominated by roads and cars.

Architectural threshold looks at the relationship between one and another, the condition where two different mediums, characteristics and cultures meet each other.

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Onehunga Section

By investigating the relationship between land and sea, people and water and culture and water in different conditions, the project targets at the once-activated threshold space – the edge of the Onehunga Wharf, a place that was once used as a door to the outside world for the early settlements, a transit point of departure and arrival of human and economical trading. However, it is now abandoned by industrial use, which is causing a descending trend of social activities occurring at the site for years.

Threshold spaces can be seen as spatial mediators that blur the boundary between two fields; a transition from one zone to another. It not only defines the space but also places the focus on the movement of crossing from one space to another.

This project looks at the current issue of Onehunga’s water edge through the investigation of the relationship of movement between water and land, people and water and culture and water. It looks for new potential strategies at this interchange node, for a vision to reinforce the intimate connection between water, people and land to create a perceptible threshold space that opens up to the water, to bring back the once-vitalised human activities on the site of Onehunga wharf. 

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