Amphitheatre for former Pallet Pavilion site

CLOSING DOWN: The Deconstruction Orchestra at the Pallet Pavilion's final party.
CLOSING DOWN: The Deconstruction Orchestra at the Pallet Pavilion's final party.

Gap Filler plans a low amphitheatre where the Pallet Pavilion used to stand in central Christchurch and is now consulting the public about the idea.

"We're still finding our way with the design," Gap Filler co-founder and creative director Coralie Winn said, but concept plans released last week show a semi-circular amphitheatre with two grass "bunds" and a central area suitable for performances, gigs, events and markets.

The earthen bunds will be about 2 metres high at their highest and will likely be grassed and stepped, landscape architect Kirsten Wilson of Outlandish Landscapes said. Gap Filler's lead project co-ordinator Trent Hiles said it would be "like the Pallet Pavilion without the walls".

Gap Filler, a non-governmental organisation that emerged during the first quake months to fill sections emptied by demolitions, hopes the new venue will open in August. Volunteers will be needed for construction.

Gap Filler's lease on the land at Durham and Kilmore streets lasts about another year. "It may be longer, but we don't know," Winn said. Christchurch City Council owns the land, once home to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

The Pallet Pavilion was de- constructed this autumn. "Without the Pallet Pavilion, the energy just went pfft," Winn said.

Gap Filler will also reorganise the site, now known as The Commons. Food trucks will be collected together near the river and there is hope that some of the shingle can be paved or grassed. More small huts may be welcome.

Three questions were raised for consultation about The Commons: In what ways could this site be used? What sort of events and projects would you want to see here? What else do we need to consider?

"There will be stuff we haven't thought of," Hiles said. "The whole site is an invitation to have a stake in what's going on in the city."

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