Festa plans outrageous spectacle in Christchurch

Festa returns to popular LuxCity format

WILL HARVIE
Last updated 07:16 15/09/2014

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Architecture students will transform central Christchurch with elevated, glowing physical installations for the 2014 Festival of Transitional Architecture (Festa) on Labour Day weekend.

Called CityUps, the event will include about 12 installations built on scaffolding frames 10m high and 12m wide on two blocks of High St.

Forms and shapes will drape off and decorate the frames, while lights, sound and music will add to the spectacle, CityUps chief planner and University of Auckland architecture assistant professor Uwe Rieger said.

The "outrageous" displays will be reminiscent of LuxCity, the unexpectedly popular 2012 Festa show that turned central Christchurch into a night-time showcase of light and form.

"A city made from light for one night," it was called. Over 20,000 crushed into the streets that Labour Day weekend.

Festa has extended the hours this year, hoping families will enjoy the free show from 5pm on Saturday, October 25 while the partiers will carry on late into the night.

The installations are being designed and built in Auckland, where the bulk of New Zealand architecture students study.

The projects must be transportable to Christchurch and the designs capable of being erected quickly.

A theme is recycling and it's hoped most materials will not be sent to landfills after the one-night CityUps event.

Groups of about 15 students, overseen by an academic tutor, have been collected into "studios" to plan the installations.

They have been matched with Christchurch organisations, typically a bar or hospitality company, that will serve food and drinks from within the installations.

"The designs must be functional," Rieger said.

"The students can't be so in love with their design that they neglect their [clients]."

Each studio also has to meet a budget - just like real architects.

Festa is also running a global design competition called CityUps+ for smartphone applications in conjunction with HitLab NZ. For example someone might design a futuristic building for a corner of High and Lichfield Sts, which will be viewable on an app.

The broader Festa theme this year is "the future will be live", which promises to "return life and energy to Christchurch's heart" while exploring possible futures for Christchurch in the present.

Expect transitional vacant-space projects, a pop-up zero-impact restaurant and an immersive installation in which plants have overrun Christchurch.

Festa hopes to raise $25,000 for CityUps with a campaign on website PledgeMe.co.nz

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- Canterbury

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