Shaping New Zealand’s landscape
Notable landscape architect Thomas Woltz has an innovative and ecologically minded approach to shaping the world around us. The US-based Woltz is currently working on projects in New Zealand, which he spoke about in a recent interview with Architectural Digest.
Woltz, who heads the award-winning firm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, spends much of his time consulting with an astonishing assemblage of experts to help inform and influence his work – this includes everyone from conservation biologists and historians to Maori tribal leaders.
“Where I’m working today, at the century-old Cornwall Park in Auckland, we asked a volcanologist to explain how the early Maori lived around and interacted with the volcano on this 600-acre site.
“Each expert we hire opens our eyes to different pieces of the puzzle. Our job is to combine those pieces into long-term sustainable use. Here, we are creating a plan for Cornwall Park’s next hundred years.”
Woltz and his firm have also done work at Orongo Station in the North Island – a 3,000 acre sheep and cattle farm. The firm rehabilitated the environment after years of overgrazing.
“Overgrazing and other farming practices common in New Zealand have threatened miles of the station’s woodlands and wetlands. [The firm] reforested, replanted, and restored—we even re-established habitats for seabirds migrating from Asia to Antarctica.
“That’s what I mean by calling our work ecologically regenerative. We take on badly damaged areas, such as quarries and former industrial sites, and rebuild the land to functionality. Life will spring back quickly if you just give it a toehold.”
Original article by Katherine Whiteside, Architectural Digest, January 2014.
Photo by Marion Brenner.