Christchurch has lost an estimated 6,000 houses due to the 2010-2011 earthquakes. With projections of 36,000 workers expected to move to the city for the rebuild, there is a very real and urgent housing crisis. Cambridge Terrace is located along the Avon River and is still, two years after the earthquakes, within the CBD closed cordon. Many buildings have been demolished while others fate is pending. With a vast area of the neighbourhood having to be rebuilt, this site was selected for the potential to revitalise the riverside. The proposal is for a multi-unit residential complex with a focus on connecting the river with the neighbourhood.
This proposal evolved from investigations on water supply and treatment methods and led on to experimentations with porosity and flow. These studies were carried out through sponge absorption testings and informed the building concept and inspired the overall design form to be canyon-like volumes. The buildings are lifted 24metres above ground to share the same maximum height of the neighbouring buildings.
The design intends to integrate public life of the street with private spaces and examine the relationship between these different programmes. In order to do this the arrangement of the buildings is focused on enhancing connections between public and private. The idea of porosity was also incorporated into how the buildings met the ground, these spaces have permeable surfaces that allow light, noise and smells to filter through. In response to the urgency for single to small household dwellings, the target market is focused on young single households, couples without children, and the working population in the trade area.