Mount Ruapehu is an apex for New Zealand’s North Island. Not only does the grand scale of the mountain captivate many, the geological features of this vast landscape are also part of the maungas charm and unique to this place.
In 1887 this sacred landscape was gifted to the people by paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Heuheu Tukino IV. This gift lunched the creation of New Zealand’s first National Park. Overtime this place of significance has become commercialized. Hosting two ski fields which gathers hundreds of thousands of people every year and constantly growing.
This thesis addresses the question, how do we engage visitors with such an extraordinary landscape, representing the unique place it is.
Researching through design around key themes such as place, cultural landscapes, therapeutic landscapes and meaningful experience. Unraveling many key qualities of the site, merging a pathway of discovery, joining both cultural and physical needs into design.
Design explorations take place at three quintessential sites of Ruapehu. The River. The Peak. The Summit Zone. Drawing from the elemental qualities that make up each site, atmosphere within each design and overall form strives to represent these natural properties. Each site works through four design phases investigating the possibilities of development amongst the landscape.
Ruapehu is a unique site carrying the weight of a long history of cultural and geological significance. This thesis introduces a discussion about the future of tourism in our sacred landscapes. Exploring possibilities of how architecture can respect and enhance such a unique place.