The renewal of central city retail in Christchurch, NZ, after a devastating earthquake, took a major step forward in October 2011 with the opening of a pedestrian shopping precinct of innovative design, made from shipping containers.
The portable, modular system was proposed by The Buchan Group after being invited to join the city’s Re:START Group and to use its retail expertise to assist in re-establishing retail amenities in the CBD. Having previously designed a home using shipping containers, The Buchan Group’s team was inspired to create a concept that could be used for single or multi-storey formats to create an interesting, vibrant retail precinct.
Cashel Mall, the site for the new precinct, is the traditional heart of CBD retail in Christchurch and had been closed to the public since the earthquake. Landowners allowed Re:START to use the land without cost and 27 retailers committed to the project, including Ballantynes department store. The Buchan Group’s design created a north and south precinct and sited the containers so as to screen damaged areas. Generous public space is a feature of both precincts, each of which has a café, seating and extensive landscaping. The project was constructed within only eight weeks and was officially opened by Prime Minister John Key. Re:START was supported by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust and ASB.
See the project video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3NyfO4PRAg