Design challenge for Christchurch rebuild

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 14:46 02/07/2011
Dean Smith (USAR NZRT) briefs one of the 20 teams taking part in this weekend's 48 hour Christchurch City Council design challeng to redesigning parts of quake hit central city.

Dean Smith (USAR NZRT) briefs one of the 20 teams taking part in this weekend's 48 hour Christchurch City Council design challeng to redesigning parts of quake hit central city.

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Ideas for the redesign of Christchurch will continue to fly thick and fast at Lincoln University today as 115 design professionals enter day two of a 48-hour design challenge.

The challenge was organised by the Christchurch City Council as part of its efforts to gather ideas on how to rebuild the damaged central city.

The council has selected five key sites in the central city and assigned three design teams to each of them.

Four of the selected sites are within the red zone and include the Cathedral Square and BNZ Building, 160 Gloucester Street, the Orion NZ Building at 203 Gloucester Street, and 90 Armagh Street, including the Avon River and Victoria Square. The fifth site, which sits outside the Red Zone, is the former Christchurch Women's Hospital at 885 Colombo Street.

"We're really looking for the teams to 'wow' us," said Michael Theelen, from the Christchurch City Council's central city project team.

"This is a great opportunity for us to pull knowledge and experience from a range of professionals with the collaborative goal of improving the future of our central city."

One member from each team was taken into the red zone yesterday so they could visit the sites for themselves and see the extent of the issues facing the city.

Neil Challenger, the head of Lincoln University's School of Landscape Architecture, said there was a "ghostly feel" in the red zone but he believed the city could bounce back. He is a leading team coming up with ideas for site at 160 Gloucester Street.

"This is more than just a paper exercise," said Challenger. "This city needs ideas ... and hopefully some of the ideas that we come up with here this weekend will be so inspiring and exciting that people will say we have to do this."

Each of the ideas presented at the end of the 48 hour challenge will be assessed by an eight-strong judging panel, which includes noted architect Andrew Patterson, the only New Zealand architect to be internationally recognised for Sustainable Innovation in Architecture, and Alex Cutter, the chief executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

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