Italian firm designs urban village for Chch

An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the seismic-resistant technology ARMADILLO, which will be employed in the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the seismic-resistant technology ARMADILLO, which will be employed in the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the interior of one of the units in the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.
An artist's impression of the interior of one of the units in the new urban village to be constructed by Latimer Square in Christchurch.

An urban village designed by a team of Italian architects is being held up as the new face of central city living in Christchurch.

Anselmi Attiani Associated Architects' design for 72 terraced houses and apartments on an almost 1 hectare block opposite Latimer Square has won top prize in the international competition breathe, which challeneged architects to create a concept for a new urban village.

The Italians' concept was one of four finalists chosen from a short-list of 58.

Work to begin within a year

Rome-based Anselmi Attiani Associated Architects will team up with the Cresco Group and Riccarton-based Holloway Builders to turn their plans for the barren site, which was once home to Charlie's Backpackers, into a reality.

Subject to finance, construction is expected construction to start in the second half of 2014.

The scheme features a medium-rise main building with a commercial zone fronting all public streets at ground level and apartments from the first floor up, as well as two to three storeyed timber-clad terraced housing built around an inner courtyard. 

All the apartments have generous-sized terraces with views to the city centre, while the terraced houses all have private gardens.

The apartments will range in size from 72sq m to 292sq m, while the terraced houses will be sized from 110sq m to 285sq m.

Price of unit: $300,000 to 900,000

Unit prices have yet to be finalised but it is anticipated they will range from $300,000 to $900,000.

A public passageway will lead people through the development into an inner courtyard, which will have two water features - an interactive summer fountain and an all-seasons reflecting pool.

Workshops, professional studios, small offices, a health centre, an early childhood centre, shops and common areas are also included in the multimillion-dollar development, which features sustainable materials and is designed to be both low maintenance and durable.

Earthquake resilient

The development will incorporate cutting edge seismic-resistance techniques known as ARMADILLO, which is both earthquake resilient and offers a fast way of re-levelling and stabilising post-earthquake to allow re-occupation.

"The winning design is hugely exciting and an example of the innovation and opportunities that Christchurch rebuild is generating," said Christchurch's mayor-elect Lianne Dalziel.

"There is a good balance of private and shared amenities that will continue to foster the community life and spirit we hold precious not only in Christchurch but throughout New Zealand, while providing a new kind of urban living."

"Christchurch will be setting the standard for high quality modern inner city living,'' Dalziel said. 

The judging panel for the competition was headed by architect Stuart Gardyne and included Kevin McCloud, the host of popular British television programme Grand Designs.

Gardyne said there was a "beauty and maturity" about the winning design.

"Space is well defined ...and there is a balance and clarity as to what is private and what is communal. It is extremely well done and any city would benefit from having a scheme as desirable as this in place."

McCloud said the scheme was well considered and built on the vernacular of timber dwellings in the area.

"It imports some of the more progressive international ideas in public realm design," he said.

The judges said the high standard of entries had made picking a winner difficult and that any of the four schemes shortlisted would have been of benefit to Christchurch, but ultimately they chose the Italian entry because it was the development they would chosen to live in. 

"This scheme sends a message to the city about what is possible," they said.

The Press