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New Zealand/Italian alliance wins urban village design comp

Media release - EMBARGOED UNTIL 6pm 22 October 2013

New Zealand/Italian alliance wins competition to design urban village for Christchurch

A partnership between a dynamic young Christchurch building company and an award-winning Italian architecture firm has been named as the winner of the Breathe – New Urban Village design competition. 

The entry from the Holloway Team, led by Riccarton-based Holloway Builders with architects Anselmi Attiani Architettura and engineers Cresco, both from Italy, was hailed by judges as well-designed and structurally innovative, as well as an affordable and sustainable option.

The unique competition issued an international challenge for teams to come up with a financially viable benchmark design for 21st century inner city living offering an exceptional quality of life.

The winning partnership, subject to finance, will now be able to build and market the development on the 8,149sqm site on the corner of Madras and Gloucester Streets, opposite Latimer Square, in central Christchurch. Breathe is an Anchor Project as listed in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

The village will include 72 timber-clad dwellings combining medium rise apartment blocks with two and three storey housing. It will incorporate cutting edge seismic-resistance techniques known as ARMIDILLO™, which is both earthquake resilient and offers a fast way of re-levelling and stabilising dwellings post-earthquake to allow re-occupation. The innovative Pres-Lam construction technology - developed in New Zealand - is being considered as part of the light-weight, sustainable structural solution.

The winning entry, selected from four finalists, was announced at an event held at the transitional Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch today by Building and Construction Minister, Hon. Maurice Williamson.

Christchurch Mayor Elect Lianne Dalziel said the competition had energised thinking around central city residential construction. “The winning design is hugely exciting and an example of the innovation and opportunities the Christchurch rebuild is generating. It is also a tribute to the high standard of the finalists that elements of each could be picked up for the Christchurch rebuild.

“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.”

The competition attracted major international interest with 58 valid entries received from 15 countries and with the finalists further developing their schemes for the second round of judging.

The judging panel for the competition featured a wide range of skills with UK Grand Design host and international judge Kevin McCloud, architect Stuart Gardyne (Chairperson), engineer Kevin Simcock, Ngai Tahu architect Huia Reriti, development specialist Martin Udale,  landscape architect Di Lucas and youth leader Zea Harman.

Mr Gardyne said, “There is a beauty and maturity about the Holloway scheme. Space is well defined and thoughtful 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.”  

Kevin McCloud commented, “this is a well-considered and mature scheme that builds on a vernacular of timber dwellings in the area. It imports some of the more progressive international ideas in public realm design.” 

The Holloway team will now begin the detailed design phase and subject to finance, construction work on the development is expected to begin in the second half of 2014. The other finalists, also consortiums, were: Ganellen, along with the University of Technology Sydney and Design King Company Architects; Walker Architecture and Design, with Ceres NZ; and the Viva! Project with Jasmax Architects and Arcus Developments.

Judges said that the high standard of entries made choosing a winner difficult and that any of the four schemes, or elements of them, would have been of benefit to Christchurch.

Ultimately the beauty, engineering innovation and sustainable-practicality of the Holloway scheme won out with judges commenting that it was the development they would choose to live in.

The judges also noted “this achieves what the original Breathe brief required, and does it well. This scheme sends a message to the city about what is possible.”


© Scoop Media

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