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Urban Village project finalists chosen

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2013

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Village greens, vege gardens and vibrant laneways are among the features being touted for a new residential development in Christchurch's city centre.

The four finalists of the Breathe - Urban Village Project competition were announced in Christchurch last night by Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson.

Four consortiums - two from New Zealand, one from Australia and an Italian group - have been picked by the judges from a total of 58 entries from around the world.

The four finalists are:

Walker Architecture and Design and Ceres NZ development

The company has delivered a wide range of urban living projects from individual houses to large-scale residential developments for councils and private developers.

The concept focuses on affordability and design excellence "available to the masses, not just the privileged few", the judges said.

Ceres NZ formed in June 2011 and has been involved in demolition and construction since the quakes.

The design features homes set around four village greens.

"This quirky and slightly chaotic design offers a true village feel that is well connected to its surroundings," judges said.

Jasmax, Viva Project, Evergreen Realty and Latitude Group development

Jasmax architectural firm has 200 staff in three offices across New Zealand. The company has been involved with notable national projects such as Te Papa, Britomart Station and the Air New Zealand Christchurch regional lounge.

Judges summarised this entry as a "living village focusing on strong community connections and environmental stewardship".

Natural materials are used and native plants harness rainwater and capture energy from the sun.

Ganellen, the University of Technology Sydney and Design King Company Architects development

Ganellen, a design and construction company based in Sydney and Christchurch, facilitated the opening of the first commercial building in the Christchurch CBD since the 2011 earthquakes, Press House. The project received International Project of the Year from the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.

Judges said the development used "modern materials and construction methods" to deliver "edgy urban living".

The affordable apartments would attract young professionals and students to vibrant central city living, they said, and the

village had strong connections to the planned green frame and central city amenities.

Anselmi Attiani Associated Architects, Cresco Group and Holloway Builders development

Italian firm Anselmi Attiani has a particular focus on sustainable design and strongly promotes bio-architecture. The award-winning firm is supported by structural engineering group Cresco, which has expertise in energy, logistics, transport infrastructure and real estate sectors.

Holloway Builders is a New Zealand firm formed in 2012 that is currently working in Christchurch.

The judges liked this entry for its "simple elegance" and clean design. A native garden and good balance of private and shared amenities would "foster community life" and allow for pets and barbecues.

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The four groups were given $20,000 to develop their concepts and the winning design will be built on the former Charlie B's Backpackers site on the corner of Gloucester and Madras streets.

Williamson said the competition would "breathe fresh life" into the city and show the rest of the country, and the world, how to make inner cities "more desirable" to live in.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said the urban village would "excite a new generation of residents" to live in the central business district.

"We are rebuilding what will be one of the most modern and liveable cities in the world," he said.

The winning design would be selected in October.

Construction would start in December, he said.

The Christchurch City Council's Share an Idea scheme in 2011 showed residents wanted affordable and sustainable design incorporated in the rebuild.

The judges for the competition include Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud, engineer Kevin Simcock, Ngai Tahu architect Huia Reriti and development specialist Martin Udale.

All 58 entries can be viewed by the public in Worcester Blvd until March 29.

- The Press

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