Launched in September 2012, the Breathe competition challenged international architects to submit innovative urban design concepts for a medium density residential village in the recovering town. The project submitted by the winning team was praised by the jury as “well-designed and structurally innovative, as well as an affordable and sustainable option.”
The Breathe competition is just one part of the multi-faceted Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, which aims to rebuild parts of the city in a sustainable and affordable manner after the massive 2011 earthquake that claimed the lives of 185 people and collapsed much of the area. Construction of the new urban village in the center of the community is seen as not only paramount to Christchurch’s recovery plan, but important for community morale as well. The local government hopes to use the project as a step forward for the community by creating a new and innovative face to sustainable central city living.
The extensive complex features a commercial area on the exterior ground level with a public passageway that leads into an inner courtyard, which will have an interactive summer fountain and a reflecting pool. The courtyard design aims to facilitate a fully functioning urban community with inviting common areas, workshops, professional studios, small offices, a health clinic, a children’s center, etc.
For residential space, the project calls for 72 timber-clad dwellings consisting of both medium-rise apartments and individual two and three story houses. The exact costs of the housing units are still under consideration, but early estimates range from $300,000 to $900,000.
The winning entry was chosen by an esteemed jury of seven experts from the world of architecture and design as well local community leaders. According to members of the jury, choosing a winner was difficult due to the high quality of the entries, but it was “the beauty, engineering innovation and sustainable-practicality of the Holloway scheme” that convinced the judges it was the best design for the Christchurch community.
Images ©Anselmi Attiani architects