An innovative shopping precinct made from shipping containers brought shoppers back to the Christchurch CBD and drew attention from around the world.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s third most-populous city and the gateway to the South Island. In 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake killed 185 people, causing widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure. About 70 percent of the shops, hotels and office buildings in the heart of the city were demolished.
The renewal of central city retail in Christchurch, took a major leap forward several months later with the opening of a pedestrian shopping precinct made from shipping containers.
After joining the city’s Re:START Group Buchan designed the portable, modular system using our retail expertise to assist re-establish retail amenities in the CBD and to help engage the people of Christchurch with their city centre again. Having designed a home using shipping containers, Buchan’s team created a concept for single or multi-storey formats to create an interesting, vibrant retail precinct.
Landowners allowed Re:START to use the land without cost. Numerous retailers committed to the project, including Ballantynes, the much loved Christchurch department store. Around 60 shipping containers – stacked in diverse arrangements, pierced with windows and doors and painted in a bright palette – were fit-out as shops and cafés. Buchan’s design created a north and south precinct and sited the containers to screen damaged areas. Generous public space was a feature of both precincts. Each precinct also had seating and extensive landscaping. The mall also became a site for buskers, comedians, street theatre, community groups.
After opening, Re:START became a world famous icon and symbol of post-quake innovation. Six years later, the container shops have moved on. Permanence is now represented by the BNZ Centre, the ANZ Centre and the Riverside farmers’ market and shops.
The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust and ASB supported Re:START.
Property Council NZ RCG Retail Property Award 2012 – Merit
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award 2012 – Planning and Urban Design
NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award 2013 – Planning and Urban Design