Urban Design Panel wants 'bland' rebuild

WILL HARVIE
Last updated 14:26 24/07/2013
Antony Gough
Kirk Hargreaves

ANTONY GOUGH: "I'm not Westfield."

The Terrace
THE TERRACE: The $140m project will feature two-storey bars and restaurants around a central piazza,

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A prominent property investor has criticised the panel that promotes good design for rebuilt Christchurch.

Antony Gough, who is redeveloping the former Oxford Tce Strip into a project called The Terrace, said the Urban Design Panel wanted architecture worthy of a suburban shopping mall.

Gough plans nine buildings on his site, and they all look different.

"When I went to the Urban Design Panel, they said ... there's no uniformity. It's all different. You've got to have ... Westfield (mall). You know, bland, creamy, homogenous," he said.

Gough, known for his outspokenness and colourful attire, said: "I'm not normal; I don't dress normally. I do things differently."

The three-phase, $140 million Terrace project will feature two-storey bars and restaurants around a central piazza, with many lanes sneaking between buildings.

Some walls will feature rusted steel, others climbing plants.

"Everything is about texture," Gough said.

"Stuff the Urban Design Panel and their monolithic [walls]. Somebody said, 'You've got to get past them'.

"I said, 'They've got no teeth'. I turned up, did my day there and that's fine. Tick the box and move on. You have to have confidence, and that's what I've got."

The panel was created before the earthquakes to provide expert advice to the city council and private developers with design issues.

It cannot reject plans but promises a "quicker, easier consent process through early identification of design issues".

Speaking at a Ministry of Awesome event in Christchurch yesterday, Gough said: "I'm sorry, Urban Design Panel, it doesn't fit your mould. I'm not Westfield."

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