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Sophisticated eco design

Level 5 New Zealand Diploma in Landscape Design student Elaina Hanzel has been commended for her “exceptional and sophisticated” design proposal – and walked away from the LoD awards as a Student Project award winner!

Elaina’s proposal for a low-impact, rural-coastal property near Mount Karioi in West Waikato looked to pay homage to the bifurcation of culture and nature with a design that investigated the interface between natural processes and human practices.

“The design generates opportunities to explore the principles of mātauranga Māori in a landscape not independent of human use, but not subject to anthropocentrism either,” explained Elaina.

“Ultimately, it cultivates human-environment relationships with a renewed land ethic. We may not own the land, but we do own responsibility toward it.”

Captivating concept

The relationship between humans and the land, and humans’ responsibility towards it, is something that resonated with the judges.

“The design proposal is underpinned by a clear and sophisticated design concept based around the emerging ecotone between the distinct ecologies adjacent to the site – exotic farmland on one side and remnant indigenous forest on the other.”

Elaina was tasked with delivering a design that incorporated water-collection tanks and eco-disposal of sewage, as well as cleverly designed out-door living spaces around the house and landscape systems to support an off-grid lifestyle. The judges were full of praise for this aspect of the design.

Carefully considered selections

Materials and plants were painstakingly chosen to ensure the site meets the needs of the client, who requested a low-impact design.

“Species were selected by cross-referencing local plant surveys, Mt. Karioi plant associations, and historical land cover analyses,” said Elaina.

“Structures and surfaces are otherwise designed with reclaimed materials [...] and arranged to maintain the integrity and permeability of the soil.“

“This is exceptional and sophisticated work from a Level 5 diploma student,” said the judges.


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