In 2011, Christchurch experienced a 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which caused widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure across the city centre. Afterwards, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and the local government prepared the 2012 Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. Their vision is to reinvigorate Christchurch and bring people back to the area, encouraging greater investment and economic growth. The redevelopment of the city centre shows that disaster and opportunity can lie close together and success in Christchurch depends on everyone working together under a shared vision.
Creating Infrastructure to Complement Christchurch
The Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre is one of the Central Recovery Plan’s anchor projects. It provides a much-needed convention and conference destination for New Zealand. The boutique-style building will complement other venues in New Zealand, such as the larger 3500-delegate venue in Auckland and the proposed smaller facility in Queenstown.
The architectural design was inspired by the natural landscape of the region and is reminiscent of the local rivers and mountains. The building has flexibility and adaptability to host a range of events – from business conventions to diplomatic conferences. Once complete, the Centre will have:
- The capacity to host 2,000 delegates
- A 1,400-delegate auditorium
- A 200-booth exhibition hall
- A banquet hall
- 24 meeting rooms overlooking Victoria Square and the Ōtākaro/Avon River
A Catalyst for Further Development
It is part of a new mix-used precinct that will link to an expanded education and arts precinct in the inner city. The wider precinct will contain generous public space along with retail outlets and restaurants. There is also the possibility that a new hotel will be constructed in the precinct, further boosting the tourism and the economic performance of Christchurch.
International Best Practice
The Christchurch Convention Centre is an example of best practice in the international collaboration between the New Zealand and Australian design and architectural teams. Through this close collaboration, we have developed various design options to produce the best possible outcome for the city.
Our team did preliminary design works for the development on a two-year timeframe prior to being engaged to deliver the Centre. We are providing lifecycle impact assessments, have issued preliminary advice and we are committed to a program of post-occupancy tuning to optimise system performance.
WSP is designing a technically complex, integrated technology system. It includes converged communications systems, broadcast infrastructure, ICT systems and audio-visual systems.
Achieving Sustainable Outcomes
The Christchurch Convention Centre design is technology-driven, highly-adaptable and sustainable. The construction is on track to have this vibrant, world-class conference facility ready in 2020. The Convention Centre has been given the name Te Pae, which is a Māori term that references a gathering place. It will become a central city landmark, supporting sustained economic and cultural benefits for the community.