The proposal for the Christchurch Events Square invents a new typology for a contemporary convention centre, employing a village-style approach with an assemblage of buildings rather than a single disproportionately large box structure. The new central city plan identifies a compact CBD to be bounded by Lichfield Street, Madras Street, Bealey Avenue and the Avon River. It was deemed appropriate that a development, so critical to Christchurch’s economic recovery, be located within this compact CBD. It also presented itself as an opportunity to revitalise Cathedral Square which, even prior to the devastation caused by the earthquakes, was lacking vibrancy and activity. The proposed assemblage of buildings within the square relate and link with each other, acting as an adhesive to glue the square back together as well as attract people back to the centre. The flow of conventions and events within the square will revive the pulse of the city.
A rigorous analysis was undertaken of the existing convention centre’s programmatic composition to unveil the short-comings and reveal potential. In addressing the centre’s location within the square, additional programs have been incorporated, including; a hotel, apartments, rentable retail space at ground level and office spaces on upper levels.
The initial research undertaken to inform the design was an in-depth study into wind, a reliable and renewable resource. The design for the building was derived from investigations into forms that augment wind flow, taking into account the 3 predominant wind flows in Christchurch; North-East, South-West and North-West. The augmented air flow is utilised to naturally ventilate the convention centre – a civic institution that characteristically requires vast amounts of servicing for artificial ventilation.