Client: International competition
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Site: Kilmore Street, Christchurch
Program: 9,500 m2 Repertory Theatre, Cafe,
Chris Moller, Ben Sutherland,
New forms of compact mixed use urban housing are essential in the re-build following the Christchurch earthquakes. The project is conceived as an extension of the wetland river eco-system by re-establishing native plant species such as harakeke (flax), raupo, cabbage tree, toitoi, kowhai, mosses, ferns and lichens growing on rooftop, courtyard and walls of the buildings to improve the garden city habitat.
The design wraps like twisting flax seed-pods around a central courtyard garden in two linear east-west buildings lifted slightly above the flood plain. The theatre and cafe have been shaped as sculptural elements to identify their important role in public life and the natural flow of people to them, eddying around them, on the river.
The building utilises prefabricated modular systems which include SIP panel cladding systems and CLT panel structural walls and floors for lightweight construction, high quality control and rapid on-site construction. Structure is provided by diaphram action of CLT (cross laminated timber) panels in both directions which are tied together with CLT floor diaphrams. The construction is very light (30% of concrete) to achieve a versatile and effective solution in earthquake prone soft ground.
The structure is defined by the spatial logic of the residential units which have been carefully dimensioned to align with an efficient carpark layout. The Theatre utilises a 2m deep LvL (laminated veneer lumber) truss structure to provide catwalk access space for theatre lighting, acoustic panels 7m above the stage floor. Residential units are provided in three primary types (single, double and tripple bedroom types) with bathrooms and kitchens delivered to site as prefab pods. External cladding for the building is achieved with SIP panels (Structurally Insulated Panel)systems of various different finishes. A combination of glazed panels, solid insulated panels and green wall panels enable a range of finishes and colour choices all fabricated off-site.