The winning Breathe design

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Breathe winning designA partnership between a Christchurch building company and an award-winning Italian architecture firm was the winner of the Breathe - New Urban Village design competition.

The entry from the Holloway Team, led by Riccarton-based Holloway Builders with architects Anselmi Attiani Architettura and engineers Cresco, both from Italy, includes 72 timber-clad dwellings combining medium rise apartment blocks with two and three storey housing. It will incorporate cutting edge seismic-resistance techniques known as ARMIDILLO™, which is both earthquake resilient and offers a fast way of re-levelling and stabilising dwellings post-earthquake to allow re-occupation. The innovative Pres-Lam construction technology - developed in New Zealand - is being considered as part of the light-weight, sustainable structural solution.

The winning partnership is now working on building the development on the 8,149sqm site on the corner of Madras and Gloucester Streets, opposite Latimer Square, in central Christchurch. Breathe is an Anchor Project as listed in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan.

 

Breathe competition

The competition attracted major international interest with 58 valid entries received from 15 countries and with the finalists further developing their schemes for the second round of judging.

The other finalists, also consortiums,  were: Ganellen, along with the University of Technology Sydney and Design King Company Architects; Walker Architecture and Design, with Ceres NZ; and the Viva! Project with Jasmax Architects and Arcus Developments.

 

Judges’ comments

The judging panel for the competition featured a wide range of skills with UK Grand Design host and international judge Kevin McCloud,  architect Stuart Gardyne (Chairperson), engineer Kevin Simcock, Ngai Tahu architect Huia Reriti, development specialist Martin Udale,   landscape architect Di Lucas and youth leader Zea Harman.

Judges said that the high standard of entries made choosing a winner difficult and that any of the four schemes, or elements of them, would have been of benefit to Christchurch. Ultimately the beauty,  engineering innovation and sustainable-practicality of the Holloway scheme won out with judges commenting that it was the development they would choose to live in.

The judges also noted “this achieves what the original Breathe brief required, and does it well. This scheme sends a message to the city about what is possible.“

Mr Gardyne said, “There is a beauty and maturity about the Holloway scheme.  Space is well defined and thoughtful and there is a balance and clarity as to what is private and what is communal. It is extremely well done and any city would benefit from having a scheme as desirable as this in place.“ 

Kevin McCloud commented, “this is a well-considered and mature scheme that builds on a vernacular of timber dwellings in the area. It imports some of the more progressive international ideas in public realm design.“ The unique competition issued an international challenge for teams to come up with a financially viable benchmark design for 21st century inner city living offering an exceptional quality of life.