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Christchurch Design Winners Bound For Britain

22 August 2012

Christchurch Design Winners Bound For Britain

An urban plan designed to attract residents back into Christchurch’s southern CBD by connecting housing along the Central City Plan’s proposed greenway, and another plan to regenerate public green spaces along the Avon River, are the top urban design ideas in a competition for rebuilding quake-affected Christchurch.

The British Council Christchurch Scholarships, in partnership with Massey University, challenged design, engineering and architecture students and graduates to submit concepts to support Christchurch’s redesign. The entrants were briefed to enter design ideas for a vibrant and resilient society.

Ksenia Aleksandrova, a Christchurch-based 22 year old Lincoln University landscape architecture student, has designed a plan for a new Christchurch city, giving priority to green spaces, pedestrian and cycle connections and accessible transport systems including a free electric shuttle.

Says Ksenia: “A city must have healthy organs to function. The arteries of a city must support strong flows, the heart must beat at a regular pace and the lungs must breathe freely. The vitality and vibrancy of a city are its people, who keep it alive. Pre-earthquake, Christchurch’s arteries were becoming congested with traffic, its heart slowing and the lungs were fractured.

“We now have an opportunity to put a new beat into the heart of Christchurch. A land based issue must be addressed by land based solutions,” she said.

Melanie Pau, a Christchurch-born 22 year old architecture student from the University of Auckland has also been awarded a scholarship, for her redesign of Christchurch’s southern CBD.

The concept, South City Greenway and Housing, explores a range of housing types set amongst vegetable gardens, market spaces and recreational spaces. The apartments, hostel, flats and townhouses each connect to the greenway in unique ways, aiming to enhance the sense of community for its residents.

David Sheppard, the competition’s head judge and President Elect of the Institute of Architects, says both offer prospects arising out of a new urban vision for the city.

The two projects stand out because they offer the potential for design solutions for Christchurch that can result in vibrant, integrated, connected and resilient communities, through the rethinking of space, interaction, environment, security and transportation systems.

“Both projects were quite believable and above all, we felt there was a great prospect for a really rich, residential lifestyle for the city, which is important,” said David.

Both students fought off stiff competition from over sixty designers offering solutions in the fields of architecture, spatial, industrial and transport design, as well as planning, engineering and landscape architecture.

Ingrid Leary, British Council New Zealand Country Director says both Ksenia and Melanie have been awarded return airfares and accommodation in Britain for ten working days, with the two recipients meeting with the UK’s top university design faculties later this year.

“Both scholarship recipients will share their concepts with some of Britain's top design teaching and research institutions, and hopefully learn from world leaders in their chosen field.”

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says it was positive to see students from tertiary institutions throughout New Zealand putting such a huge amount of effort into the new Christchurch.

“This competition is testament to the tremendous creativity and dedication of young New Zealanders.

“The next generation of designers emerging from New Zealand universities have seized this unique opportunity to rethink how Christchurch could be rebuilt and revitalised, and the two recipients in particular, have shown how to integrate innovation, creativity and sustainability to bring about positive change for all New Zealanders,” he said.

The programme’s ten shortlisted designs, including both winning entries, can be viewed as posters at http://www.facebook.com/#!/BritishCouncilChristchurchScholarships

ENDS

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