Gothic Chch the way of the future?
Do you like Carr's vision for a neo-gothic shopping complex?
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
Could this be the future of Christchurch? It's neo-Gothic, but with a modern twist - a design blending the look of old stone Christchurch with green features and the latest seismic technology.
Christchurch architectural graduate and structural engineer James Carr has designed a stone-clad precinct complete with arched windows, turrets and spires for the central city. Inside, shops, galleries, apartments and an atrium surround a covered public walkway through a tree-filled central courtyard, with base isolators and seismic gaps built into columns for earthquake safety.
Carr drew his blueprint for an international competition. Needing a location, he chose the Triangle Centre site between Cashel, High and Colombo streets, even though its owner has no rebuild plans.
Carr described his plan as "like a medieval market hall with modern technology".
The building was designed to be robust, adaptable, profitable for its owner and inexpensive to run, using natural light and ventilation.
"The response has been very positive, but not universally," he said. "Some people said it would make them want to go back into town, but some people want something shiny and trendy."
Architecture writer and Iconic group heritage campaigner Rodney Laredo said designs like Carr's could transform Christchurch and save it from "hideous concrete boxes".
"We are on the cusp of building a new city and if we get it right, we could be a showcase, not only nationally but internationally," he said.
The design has five and six storeys with loft rooms, a laminated-timber roof structure and pre-cast concrete window frames and archways.
Triangle Centre site owner Michael Ogilvy-Lee, who has recently demolished his buildings, likes Carr's neo-Gothic stylings but cannot build anything without the official central Christchurch plan and insurance cover. "I think it would be great to have some Gothic-style buildings in the city, but we need to know what we can do first. We don't even have a city plan or zoning rules yet."
Ogilvy-Lee said a design competition and an extension to the Re:Start container mall had also been proposed for his property.
The other corner of the triangular block is owned by investor and retailer Tim Glasson.
Carr is also working on neo-Gothic designs for other parts of the city centre.
"The future is what we choose to put there; what we choose to bring with us. The past is what we choose to leave behind," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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