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 another plan to regenerate public green spaces along the Avon River, are the top urban design ideas in a competition for rebuilding quake-affected Christchurch.
The British Council Christchurch Scholarships, in partnership with Massey University, challenged design, engineering, architecture and landscape architecture students and graduates to submit concepts to support Christchurch’s redesign. The entrants were briefed to enter design ideas for a vibrant and resilient society.
Lincoln University fourth year landscape architect student Ksenia (Kess) Aleksandrova was one of the two winners announced at the 6th Australasian Natural Hazards Management Conference this week. She 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.
“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 said.
Lincoln University has the oldest School of Landscape Architecture in New Zealand, within the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design. Associate Professor Greg Ryan, Faculty Dean is ecstatic to have one of our students win this scholarship. “Over sixty design students from around New Zealand submitted concepts, vying to win one of the two scholarships on offer by the British Council New Zealand. It is an immense achievement for Kess to be awarded the scholarship.
“One of the aspects of the degree courses at Lincoln University that we are very strong on is real-world application of what the students are learning. Our students learn how to create a design that is innovative, creative and sustainable for the physical landscape but are also taught that their design must also meet the social needs of the community.”
The other scholarship recipient is Melanie Pau, an architecture student from the University of Auckland with her redesign of Christchurch’s southern CBD. Her concept, 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,” said David.
Ingrid Leary, British Council New Zealand Country Director says both Kess and Melanie have been awarded return airfares and accommodation in Britain for ten working days, with the two recipients meeting with the UK’s top university design faculties later this year.
“Both scholarship recipients will share their concepts with some of Britain's top design teaching and research institutions, and hopefully learn from world leaders in their chosen field.”
The programme’s ten shortlisted designs, including both winning entries, can be viewed as posters here.
Left to right: Head of the School of Landscape Architecture Dr Jacky Bowring; Kess Aleksandrova; Dean of the Faculty of Environment, Society and Design Associate Professor Greg Ryan