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The Influencers: John Bridgman


Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

We recently completed the first quarter of Christchurch’s biggest jigsaw puzzle, which at first may not seem like a major achievement but it has 43,000 pieces!

The façade on Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is a significant feat of architecture and engineering.

Each of the fibre cement tiles is placed individually on a panel in a layout that creates the look of a braided Canterbury river.

But colour is only one part of the equation, with a complex curved steel structure to support the 1,604 panels required to deliver the full effect.

Designed by Woods Bagot in association with Warren & Mahoney, and Matapopore, the five varied tones of grey and different surface textures in the façade give the building the characteristics of a ‘living surface’.

This intricate façade was selected because Te Pae Christchurch sits on a prime central city site, chosen because it’s on the doorstep of some of the best dining, shopping and accommodation Christchurch has to offer.

So, we had a responsibility to deliver a facility befitting this prominent riverside site and the significant buildings surrounding it.

It is great to see that vision coming to life as this iconic facility will be around for a long time.

The tiles are expected to last for more than 50 years and are fully recyclable, as it’s unlikely anyone will want to take a second go at putting this puzzle together.


 

Significant feat of engineering


STANDING IN REMARKABLE RECOGNITION OF THE ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING MAGNIFICENCE TAKING PLACE AT GROUND LEVEL IN CHRISTCHURCH, IS THE BRAIDED RIVER EFFECT OF TE PAE CHRISTCHURCH CONVENTION CENTRE’S FACADE.

 

 

CPB Contractors has now installed a quarter of the 43,000 herringbone tiles that will make up the design and Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive John Bridgman says achieving this iconic look has been a significant feat of architecture and engineering.

“Each of the fibre cement tiles is placed individually on a panel in a layout that creates the look of a braided Canterbury river.

But colour is only one part of the equation, with a complex curved steel structure to support the 1604 panels required to deliver the full effect,” he says.

“This prime central city location was chosen for Te Pae Christchurch because it’s on the doorstep of some of the best dining, shopping and accommodation Christchurch has to offer. It also ensured we did all we could to deliver a facility befitting this prominent riverside site and the significant buildings surrounding it.”

Woods Bagot Principal and design leader Bruno Mendes says seeing Te Pae Christchurch come alive makes it worth all the effort.

“The design is for a fluid and undulating facade that responds to the cultural narrative of the local iwi and the Avon River flowing through the city.”

Advising on Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāi Tahu values and narratives, the Matapopore Charitable Trust was fully embedded in the design process, which Mendes said refined and reinforced the ‘braided rivers’ concept which started as an early idea.

“Principles of the unique Canterbury landscape are captured in the materiality. There are five varied tones of grey and different surface textures in the facade composition,” Bruno said.
“The panel colours build on the interplay of shades and the characteristics of a ‘living surface’.”

Matapopore Chairperson, Aroha Reriti-Crofts, says the concept for the facade is aligned with ki uta ki tai (from the mountains to the sea).

“The term relates to the the movement of water through the landscape and the numerous interactions it may have on its journey.

Ki uta ki tai recognises the interconnected nature of people, land and water.

This concept also has a strong connection with both mahinga kai and whakapapa, which are two of the kaupapa that are being embedded into the Anchor Projects.”

The facade cladding is in fibre cement tiles, which are produced using mineral base materials.

The tiles will last for more than 50 years and are fully recyclable. Fibre cement production has 90 percent less greenhouse potential than aluminium sheeting.


 

John Bridgman: The Influencers


We’ve delivered roads, parks, laneways, a promenade and we have two of the largest buildings in the city under construction – Te Pae and the Metro Sports facility.

 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

But later this year Ōtākaro will take on a new type of project with the North Frame pedestrian bridge. The 32-metre-long, four-metre-wide bridge will connect Cambridge and Oxford Terraces between Colombo and Manchester Streets.

The bridge sits on what we call a ‘desire line’, the route people would take over the bend in the Avon River if it were possible. It will make the trip through the city along the Avon River Precinct quicker for cyclists and pedestrians.

With residential and other private developments planned for the North Frame, it makes sense for us to get in now to do the work, ahead of an influx of people living, working and visiting this area. Christchurch City Council expressed a desire for the bridge to be functional, simple and low maintenance, and this concept design reflects that.

The bridge will run perpendicular to the river, to encourage approaching cyclists and scooter riders to reduce their speed and will mean the main vertical elements of the Taurapa sculpture, which was commissioned by the Seattle Sister City Committee in 1997, will not need to be moved. Work is likely to get underway around November and take about six months to complete.

Out of our long list of construction projects, I’m confident this will be the only one with the added challenge of having to work around the trout spawning season.

 

 


 

John Bridgman: The Influencers


The construction of Te Pae, our new convention centre, is now 50 percent complete.

 

Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

It’s an exciting milestone that the sales team was recently able to share with event organisers from all around the globe at IMEX in Frankfurt, the world’s largest convention about where to hold a convention. Letting the world know Te Pae will be open for business late next year is key to the venue’s success.

More than half of the economic benefit Te Pae will bring to Christchurch will come from large international events, even though these events will not represent the majority of the bookings. There is intense global competition to attract these international events and the bigger they are, the further out they book – three to four years in advance in many cases.

The first international event to be held at Te Pae will be INTECOL’s 11th International Wetlands Conference in October 2020. With about 1000 attendees, this is the largest, most influential international conference in wetland ecology.

It demonstrates that we are not just promoting Te Pae to the world, but also Christchurch, Canterbury and our local expertise. New Zealand is internationally respected for its science and management of wetlands.

Other earth sciences, agriculture and wider food production, high-tech innovation, medical research, education and building technology are among the other sectors that are likely to bring big events to Te Pae. These local strengths, coupled with world-class service at a world class venue, and an attractive visitor destination will see Te Pae reach its full potential for Christchurch.