[D6 2012]
Located on the outskirts of the proposed condensed CBD, bordered by the Avon River and the Christchurch Art Gallery, the proposal is for a mixed use building that facilitates a connection between the public and small businesses involved in the rebuild. The project aims to integrate several urban environments, office spaces, artist studios, retail, cafes, public space and native vegetation, encouraging the symbiotic relationships which allow these programs to bring life into urban spaces, while maintaining their individual identities. Through early investigations into the native vegetation of Christchurch the network of ecosystems highlighted the importance of interdependent structures and systems in the natural environment. This notion influenced the building concept from form to program focusing on the connections between the multiplicity of structures and environments.

The project attempts to allow the notion of a garden city to reemerge through creating an environment where nature and architecture are intrinsically connected. Seeing a ‘frame’ as a restrictive boundary the proposal incorporates green spaces into its built fabric providing a way to extend the garden city notion beyond the restraints of the CBD. Alongside Swarm Housing and The Plant Science Park these proposals create the opportunity for a green axis to extend the garden city without bounds.

Conceptually a drawing, derived from a study of the manuka ecosystem, informed the buildings programmatic layout, circulation and massing assessing each structures inherent qualities to derive its placement and interpretation. Through the differences in kind and organization new environments emerge allowing programs to interact and influence each other. The multiplicity of programs and structures establishes diversity, while their dependencies allow for a fusion between each instead of a collage of isolated unconnected events. This process recognizes how a city works as a collective and interprets it at the smaller scale of a single site.

Hannah Steenson, October 2012


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