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Designers Britain-bound with winning Christchurch design ideas

British Council Christchurch rebuild designs

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 a concept project to regenerate public green spaces along the Avon River are the top urban design ideas in a competition for rebuilding 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 winners, Christchurch-based Ksenia Aleksandrova and Christchurch-born Auckland student Melanie Pau are off to Britain to meet with the UK’s top university design faculties later this year.

Aleksandrova, a 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.

“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," she says.

“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."

Pau, an architecture student at the University of Auckland, was also awarded a scholarship for her redesign of Christchurch’s southern CBD.

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,” he said.

More than 60 designers entered solutions in the fields of architecture, spatial, industrial and transport design, as well as planning, engineering and landscape architecture.

The 10 shortlisted designs, including both winning entries, can be viewed as posters here.