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Urban design awards offer new look for Christchurch

August 22, 2012

Urban design awards offer new look for Christchurch

Separate plans to attract residents back into Christchurch’s southern CBD and to regenerate public green spaces along the Avon River, are the top urban design ideas in a competition for rebuilding the quake-affected city.

More than 60 entrants, ranging from architectural, spatial, industrial and transport design students and graduates, as well as others studying planning, engineering and landscape architecture, submitted entries for the British Council Christchurch Scholarships, offered in partnership with Massey University.

Lincoln University landscape architecture student Ksenia Aleksandrova, 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.

“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 says.

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

The 22 year-old’s concept, South City Greenway and Housing, explores a range of dwellings including apartments, hostels, flats and townhouses, and how they would look set amongst vegetable gardens, market spaces and recreational spaces.

Both winners were awarded return airfares and accommodation in the UK for ten working days later this year when they will tour some of the UK’s top design faculties.

Competition head judge, David Sheppard, who is president elect of the Institute of Architects says through rethinking of issues such as environment, space and transportation systems, both concepts offered potential for design solutions for Christchurch.

“Both projects were quite believable and above all, we felt there was a great prospect for a really rich, residential lifestyle for the city,” Mr Sheppard says. He was joined on the judging panel by Rodney Adank, head of the Institute of Design for Industry and Environment at Massey’s College of Creative Arts.

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

“The next generation of urban 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 abut a positive change for all New Zealanders.

The programme’s ten shortlisted designs, including both winning entries, can be viewed as posters at


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