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    Christchurch earthquake rebuild blueprint by Australasian consortium wins WAN Urban Design Award

    Geraldine Chua

    The blueprint for the rebuild of Christchurch City has received an Urban Design – Future Projects prize at the World Architecture News (WAN) Awards, a London-based international architectural awards program.

    Designed by a consortium of architects and designers from multidisciplinary architecture practice Warren and Mahoney, landscape architects Boffa Miskell, Populous, architects Woods Bagot, RCP, and Sheppard and Rout, the blueprint proposed a spatial framework for the recovery of Christchurch central city following the earthquakes of 2010/2011.

    The sequence of more than 9,000 earthquakes had destroyed most of the city’s major buildings, including commercial, civic, retail and administrative properties, leading to a decentralisation of the city core.

    The consortium, Blueprint 100, was given just 100 days to complete the blueprint, which included stakeholder briefing sessions, writing the functional briefs and providing a deliverable plan for the location, scale and format of the 16 ‘anchor projects’ considered necessary to regenerate the centre.

    According to Warren and Mahoney, projects such as a new convention centre, public library, transport hub, sports stadium, and justice and emergency services precinct had to be considered together to allow for “catalytic development between new projects”.

    The team of five international WAN judges have said they were “blown away” by the scale of the proposed framework for central Christchurch as it faced a major rebuild of its infrastructure and amenities following the disaster.

    They also praised the Blueprint for its strong, innovative and legible response to the urban issues facing the city post the earthquakes.

    One of the most significant aspects of the Blueprint was the containment of the core and urban boundaries within a ‘frame’. When aligned with a strong focus on the Avon River, the expectation is for a city which combines the best of urban renewal principles whilst retaining the uniqueness of Christchurch.

    “This establishes a community-informed spatial framework for locating anchor projects and revitalising a city in the face of natural disaster. The community participation component is very strong,” commented one of the judges Alan Pullman, founder of Californian firm Studio One Eleven.

    Joining Pullman on the jury panel was Scott Hunter, principal of HKS inc; Marc Mimram, founder of Marc Mimram architects; Georgia Watson, head of the department of planning and research tutor in the Joint Centre for Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University; and Jason Speechly-Dick, representing Atkins Global PLC.

    The Kalvebod Waves in Copenhagen, Denmark by Urban-Agency, and the Savannah College of Art and Design’s SCADpad in Atlanta, USA, were also recognised at the WAN Urban Design Awards, each taking home prizes for the Completed Projects sub-category.

    The judges agreed that the two winners could not be compared as both projects were so different, and wanted to commend their work for very different reasons.

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