One of the priorities for me as the Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration is ensuring that we are well placed to learn from the Canterbury Earthquakes sequence going ahead. We know that there are valuable lessons to be learned from such an unprecedented event that will enable us to make sure our communities are more resilient and prepared in the future.
It was a great pleasure to announce recently that there will be a two-day symposium held in November this year in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council. This symposium will also provide a platform to lead into a bigger international event that will mark the quake’s tenth anniversary in 2021.
We anticipate the involvement of up to 250 participants from across the public and private sectors, representing those who have been involved in the local recovery, as well as those that may be impacted by future events. Crucially, the symposium and workshops will also give communities the chance to share their wisdom and experiences as those at the coalface of the recovery.
Given New Zealand’s complex geography, we know that it’s merely a question of when and not if another community faces the same challenges. Our communities need to know that the disaster and recovery systems are effective and robust.
The symposium will provide a unique opportunity for community leaders, recovery practitioners and academics to learn from what’s happened in the past and to make sure we get it right in the future.
Prior to the devastating earthquake events of 2010/2011, the public generally didn’t know a geotechnical engineer from a civil engineer; with much of an engineer’s work often being hidden.
Indeed, if it works and continues to do so, then an engineer’s work is often buried in the ground, or hidden behind building finishes, quietly doing its job.
High demand saw increased competition with many firms coming into Canterbury, only to now be leaving as we begin the ongoing trend back to pre-earthquake construction levels. Which begs the question, where will the providers of this advice be when future questions are raised on post-earthquake designs and earthquake repairs?
With so much achieved during the rebuild and so much still to be done, it’s important for clients to understand that seeking enduring, quality advice should always be balanced against the cost of acquiring it. Cost effective solutions are rarely the cheapest option.
Engaging a well-established expert as your trusted advisor brings with it long term benefits that endure long after the bill for the alternative cheaper design would have been paid. A trusted advisor will seek to help the client find an enduring long-term solution with practical options, easily discussed because of your ongoing working relationship based on trust and good communication.
Canterbury and beyond remains an active seismic area and earthquakes are a way of life for New Zealanders. Get the best advice by making sure your consultant is an expert and is willing to put the time in to become your trusted advisor.
After five weeks, our Red Zone Futures exhibition has ended and we are now assessing the feedback provided by everyone who visited the Cashel Mall site, engaged with our travelling exhibition and commented via the online exhibition.
This information, as well as the findings of qualitative research carried out during the exhibition period, will inform our development of the draft Regeneration Plan for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.
As the exhibition entered its final weeks, another of our projects reached a significant milestone. The release of our vision for Cathedral Square followed 18 months of design work, technical reports and engagement with Cathedral Square property owners, business groups, heritage groups, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, the public and other key stakeholders.
We have appreciated the significant interest in our thinking for the square. But it’s not just about new things. To be regenerated, the square must return to its original purpose as a gathering place for local people and visitors. It needs to be a strong symbol of the vibrant future of the city centre.
The vision, which will be delivered in stages as funding and other developments allow, is aspirational in terms of design. But we believe the social regeneration of the square is achievable sooner rather than later and should be prioritised by tidying the place up and making it a place for the people again.
With that in mind, we will work with the city council on the development of a delivery strategy to support the private and public investment being made in the area.
Irecently had the pleasure of attending a presentation from four millennials talking about social enterprises here in Christchurch. The future leaders were excited to share their findings with the baby boomers and gen Xers. After all, in their minds, social enterprise is a relatively new concept, largely driven by their generation.
Those of us with laughter lines and natural ‘highlights’ in our hair openly questioned if it was a new concept, or just the re-labeling of an existing model?
Currently there is no nationally agreed legal definition of what a social enterprise is. The Akina Foundation, the Government-funded entity charged with growing social enterprise, defines them as purpose-driven originations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact. Akina also references that they use commercial methods to be financially self-sustained.
Based on that definition, I’m sure we could all draft a list, including many larger long-established charities, that have developed commercial products to underwrite the social or environmental services they deliver.
Christchurch has been informally recognised as a hotspot for social enterprise since the 2010/11 earthquakes. Last year we hosted the Social Enterprise World Forum because of this.
I have certainly seen an increase in entities popping up that want to make a difference, largely driven by impressive younger talent. However, our own Kilmarnock Enterprises was established in 1958.
I don’t believe social enterprise is a new concept. What we call it is largely immaterial; what is important is the amazing work they do and what can be achieved by taking this approach.
Te Pae, the official name for the Christchurch Convention Centre, was recently unveiled at MEETINGS 2018, New Zealand’s largest business events tradeshow, in Auckland. The name is a unique yet simple way for domestic and international visitors to identify this premium, purpose-built convention and exhibition venue.
We worked with local cultural advisers, Matapopore on a name that reflects not only what this facility is, but also what makes it different from any other. The term Te Pae references a gathering place but also has other fitting meanings. Te pae tangata means ‘the orator’s bench’. Given the design of the building has been heavily influenced by the local landscape, it’s particularly relevant that te pae maunga means ‘the view of the mountains’, and te pae whenua means ‘the view of the plains’.
It is why simply calling the facility the “Christchurch Convention Centre” would have been underselling it in a globally competitive conventions and exhibitions market.
As a central city landmark, on a specifically selected riverside site, supported by great hospitality or manaakitanga, Te Pae will be enjoyable and memorable. Accommodation, shops, bars, restaurants and parks are all a few steps away and, drive less than two hours in any direction from Christchurch, and you will find a scenic part of the South Island.
Those of us who live here can sometimes take what’s on our doorstep for granted but, when you look at everything that makes this region special, you can see how Te Pae will offer delegates an experience like no other.
Living in Christchurch should offer an experience comparable to other major cities and that which is expected of the second largest city in NZ. That’s why we need to commit to building a multi-use stadium.
The economic and social benefits of a vibrant sporting and contemporary events calendar are considerable, as evidenced in Dunedin by Ed Sheeran: sixty thousand visitors over a weekend, with an estimated $34m of economic benefit.
The benefits would be even greater if the stadium was capable of hosting both high-profile sports events and concerts, trade shows and other major events. That’s why it needs a roof, as its location in the residential East Frame and modern noise standards, combined with the harsh Canterbury winters, mean its viability as a multi-use facility is limited if it is not enclosed.
The vibrancy of the new central city is starting to develop. We have amazing retail and hospitality developments including The Crossing, The Terraces, the soon-to-open Hoyt’s development and the city’s anchor tenant Ballantynes. New facilities such as the central library and the Margaret Mahy playground are strong reasons to visit the central city.
Attracting people to visit is a must for businesses who have invested in the city and we need to support them. A new, covered, multi-use arena will take the city to a new level, not only by hosting events that will provide access to top notch sporting and cultural entertainment, but also by bringing people and economic activity from wider Canterbury and the greater South Island.
Architect Craig South explores the positive impact quality, well-considered design can have on a family’s future.
After recently catching up with clients who are still living in their home 10 years after it was designed, the importance of well-considered design was abundantly clear. When we were designing the Brown House, they were a young family with two small boys and another on the way.
Ten years on, although their lives have changed, their home still works perfectly for them. They may have redecorated to match their current tastes, but the spaces remain the same; save for the toy store! A small room off the kitchen and dining area designed for the kids’ ‘stuff’ – highchairs, games and toys – has now become the children’s study. Although the use has changed, its proximity to the kitchen makes it ideal for its new use as it is easy to keep an eye on homework whilst cooking dinner!
The value an architect brings is immeasurable; we understand that it is the unique features and quirks that makes a house your home. Not necessarily the cedar wall in the stairwell or the double shower in the ensuite, but also how the spaces are organised to best suit the way your family lives. Some require large open plan rooms; others want more compartmentalised areas so, like the Browns, they can host dinner parties in the dining room then retire to a separate sitting area, all whilst the children are watching TV or playing video games in another space; connected but still independent. It is our job, as architects, to take the time to get to know you and your family so we can tailor your home to meet your specific needs now and into the future.
After 10 years, fashions have changed, fads have come and gone but the well-considered design of the Brown House has stood the test of time. As architects, we want nothing more than our designs to last a lifetime. There may be cosmetic changes to ‘keep up with the times’ but the spaces should remain functional and suitable. I was surprised and delighted to hear the Browns still receive plenty of positive comments. “When people visit for the first time, they often cannot believe it’s 10 years old! Our home fits our family so perfectly that people think we have built recently, not a decade ago!”
It was fascinating to discuss how the home has developed with the family and the elements they have added over time as, and when, they could afford them. When we designed their home, a pool wasn’t a necessity, but as something they wanted in the future, it was planned for to be added later.Although the Browns would love to build again, the location, section size and their home’s spaces continue to meet their needs, so there is no real desire to move.The opportunity to revisit one of my earlier designs and discover that it is still as functional and beautiful as it was a decade ago has reminded me just how important our job, as architects, is. We help to make your house your forever home.www.caarc.co.nz
Architect Craig South explores an alternative to the norm when it comes to central city living.
Architecture is typically viewed as a whole – the exterior lines, the internal layout and the fit-out. And while it is all of that, if we were to strip it back to a considered shell, we have what is known as Naked Architecture – a term being used overseas to describe buildings being designed and built with no preconceived ideas around their internal layout and use; buildings that the end-user is able to individually tailor to suit their needs.
This is not to say that the cornerstones of architecture are ignored. The roles of the developer and the architect are still vital throughout the process. Each unit or apartment needs to be the result of considered design; crafted for its individual location and placement within the overall structure in order for the building to be a success. The developer and architect are equally important during the fit-out stage, ensuring the end result is a well thought out, bespoke home.
By offering buyers this ability to buy ‘shell space’ and fit it out to suit their personal needs, we are creating end-user buy-in in terms of what they are wanting, giving buyers the opportunity to stake a claim and invest, beyond financially, into their purchase.
Where someone might spend more on floor tiles and fittings, another occupant will spend less. One may have an ‘entertainers’ kitchen and one large living area, while another will have multiple living spaces and sleeping options to suit their family – allowing everyone to create a home that falls within their budget while meeting their personal needs.
Having been seeking an inner city living option for my family, it has become apparent that finding the perfect solution is hard. Our decision to move into the inner city has been driven by the high level of amenity and the incredible opportunity Hagley Park offers as a borrowed landscape, ensuring that no matter where we move in this central neighbourhood and what size our floor plan, we have this vast green space on our doorstep. This ensures we won’t be compromising on the Kiwi backyard, rather opening up the opportunities that come with living within close proximity to such an under-utilised offering.
Personally, we would jump at the chance to convert a ‘shell’ into spaces that reflect our family’s needs both now and into the future. And what is exciting is that someone else could create something completely different in the adjacent space. This is a concept that allows for individualisation of style, budget and layout, creating a cross section and diversification of people living in our city.
This type of development is not an unknown concept in New Zealand, or even Christchurch. We commonly adopt it in the design and build of commercial buildings, so the question is, why not do it for personal living spaces?
We tend to look to Europe for passive design learnings and other design concepts, so why not look to them for inspiration to encourage families into our inner city?
With our central city neighbourhood bursting with amenities, yet slow to attract residential development post-earthquake, it is time to think beyond ordinary and offer a new and unique way to encourage people back. www.caarc.co.nz
You may notice a change in the Christchurch skyline this month with the first of the steel trusses being placed to support the roof of the Convention Centre.
These first trusses span 50 metres and sit over the 1400-person auditorium. They give you the first real opportunity to gain some appreciation of the scale of the facility, which occupies two city blocks.
In total around 4500 tonnes of primary and secondary steel will be required for the building.
About a third of the facility’s 25000m3 of concrete has now been poured, with work on the foundation of the 3600m2 multi-use exhibition hall currently underway.
Concrete pumps have also been hard at work on the walls, which are being poured in place rather than being trucked in as the more conventional precast panels. This is because supporting the roof over these large open spaces and achieving the appropriate earthquake resilience requires walls around half a metre think. As a result, it would very difficult to truck in precast panels this thick and heavy.
A great place to watch ‘François’ the French tower crane and the German crawler crane ‘Helping Hans’ go about their work on the Convention Centre is Victoria Square. When the facility opens in 2020 it will be the other way around, with the Convention Centre’s meeting rooms on Armagh Street offering impressive views of the historic statues, garden beds and Bowker Fountain in the Square.
But for now, just keep looking up.
I’m often asked about the new stadium and, although this is a complex subject, my answer is simple. Time is money.
We are grateful for the temporary stadium and what it once represented, but extending its life is a growing concern. Another is the escalating cost of delaying construction of a replacement home for Lancaster Park. The business case for a new stadium needs to consider affordability of the build and the affordability of operating it for 50 years.
Rugby is in our DNA; as a region we lead the world in producing world class players and teams, but that doesn’t mean we can demand a new stadium. We respect there have been higher priorities over the past seven years, but time is now the greatest risk. Rugby is just one of many tenants who could utilise a multi-purpose stadium; we support the decision to fast-track this project and hope to be offered a seat at the table when a final decision is made.
The debate appears to be focused on whether (or weather) we need a roof? We need to shift the conversation around the economic benefit to our city, but just as importantly the benefit to our people. In other words: Wellbeing Economics.
Wellbeing Economics is about acknowledging the significant role sport and recreation plays in the community, in the development of our values and character, and in defining who we are and how we live our lives.
The decision to build the Metro Sports Facility is a strong example of this, and just reward for all the sports codes in Canterbury.
Christchurch has always been an aspirational city, and I’m of the view that both facilities will inspire our kids to dream big.
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