Landscape design guidelines provide a coordinated approach to the airport’s landscape

We delivered technical protocols to assist a range of users including landscape architects, architects, gardeners, contractors and airport staff, while balancing the unique requirements of an airport landscape.

Christchurch Airport engaged WSP Opus to provide a set of landscape design guidelines for a coordinated approach to the airport’s landscape. The brief asked for comprehensive yet succinct technical protocols to assist a range of users including landscape architects, architects, gardeners, contractors and airport staff.

The project offered a unique challenge of balancing the strict birdstrike control requirements of CIAL with enhancing the visual amenity of the airport landscape.

Meetings with key stakeholders formed the project framework. These included planners, architects, gardeners, ornithologist and services staff. The discussions identified opportunities and constraints for the site. A site visit enabled the team to assess the extent of the project.

The document’s protocols and diagrams reflect the issues discussed – approval process, landscape character and design, birdstrike, access safety and security, drainage, plant selection and planting, landscape works, irrigation, carparks and maintenance.

A key goal was to recognise the natural and historic character of the Canterbury region, and provide a distinctive local identity that enhances visitors’ experience of the airport.

A draft was circulated to those consulted for review and feedback. It included plans of the terminal precinct and external properties, plant themes, relevant legislation and background documents and a checklist to ensure all guidelines are considered. The guidelines set out to:

  • Improve the amenity of public space around the airport
  • Ensure that the environment reduces the risk of birdstrike to the lowest level
  • Consider the commercial and business interests of leasehold tenants, promoting superior design in both CIAL and tenanted land.

Our team created an accessible document for everyone involved in design and maintenance of the airport grounds. Client feedback has been very positive and we have been commissioned to produce work to implement the protocol.