Breathe: Design and build

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  • The Breathe competition was aiming for a one-stop shop in a winner - a consortium who could design the winning design and then be backed by a developer who could get it built. The emphasis was on the design leading the developer, and the results of the competition were considered much better than could have been delivered by going straight to the developer in the first instance.
  • The development agreement in Breathe had some flexibility provided in terms of height, landscaping, layout etc. in order to enable delivery of a quality end product without ruining the financial viability of the scheme. Tolerances have to be built into the development agreement, with a need to enshrine change aspects and procedures to make it negotiable. The developer has to have a realistic view that they are entering into a contract for delivery and there is a lot of work to be done - but no-one wants to see the constructing developer going under.
  • When drawing up the basics of the developer agreement for Breathe, Council had substantial pro-bono work provided for the delivery of the agreement, with the expectation / proviso that the legal company would continue to do work afterward once they had proved their worth.
  • The developer agreement was provided as a draft for all 4 finalists giving teams the chance to look over the conditions and clauses and provide feedback. This made it a fair and transparent process and also provided a realistic view of the viability of the land conditions and price from the developers’ perspective.
  • Councils might want to look at suspending some or all of the underlying planning rules to explore greater creativity on the competition site. The conditions of the Breathe competition included a designation for the site - this meant fewer constraints and provided for innovation and freedom of thought.

Breathe logo

Breathe logo

A site was determined early on for the New Urban Village to be designed by the Breathe competition.  The land, opposite Latimer Square, was donated by Christchurch City Council and is an almost 1 hectare bare site, which was once home to Charlie’s Backpackers.

New Urban Village site



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