Emerging Communities

Sharon Ecchelshall, Glenn Ridley & Nick SlatterY



This Negotiated Studio project focused on the redevelopment of Point Chevalier town centre. The design process involved consultation with Pasadena Intermediate School students and Chris Casey of the Point Chevalier Social Enterprise Group.

The emergence of boutique, eclectic communities requires a sense of place, an anchor that grounds the locals and provides a communal connection for individuals to engage in conversations with the broader demographics of the area.

Our approach to enhancing the Point Chevalier community hub placed emphasis on this anchor and involved research into community psychology. Through our exploration we began to refine our objective, as we realized the effects of change, material development, automated services and impersonal glitches. The result; insular, disengaged humans within fragmented communities. 

The design creates a place to nurture the resistance of community to create a space that caters for the dynamic demographic of Point Chevalier, through a safe, multifunctional space with many options for social interaction. The circular theme emerged from the cyclic relationship between human engagement and happiness. The aesthetically pleasing meeting place gives residents a point of connection where they can fill their emotional tanks with happiness through feelings of inclusion and belonging. The success of these boutique communities relies heavily on involvement. Humans belong in networking communities; they need to interact frequently with other people. 

This space includes unique design elements; a sculptural art piece by local year 11 students, which symbolizes family and unity. An installation of petrified totem poles, of several significant materials that reflect the relationship and stories of local iwi with the surrounding landscape. The site creates spaces of enclosure and safety through the cloaking of plants across the space, whilst main lines of travel are wide and accommodating of large crowd movements. This is not downtown; this is the emergence of suburban relief.