Plan to keep breathing

The team from Walker Architecture and Design was in Christchurch last night to hear the Minister of Building and Housing announce the winning project for the Breathe Urban Village.

By now you may well know through media coverage that ours was not the winning scheme (at least not in the eyes of those who made the decision!)


The news was not new to us.  After a period of intense meetings and negotiations with us and one other team, organisers informed us early last week that ours was not the scheme to go through.

Of course we were disappointed, but the advance warning meant we had time to reflect on the decision and we headed off to Christchurch ready to enjoy the evening.  It was my first visit to the Cardboard Cathedral (and I was very impressed with it) and also was a good opportunity to network with the likes of the new Mayor of Christchurch, and to celebrate rejuvenation plans for Christchurch’s inner city.


Of most interest to me was the chance to meet Grand Designs Presenter Kevin McCloud whose intelligent passion I have long admired.  Kevin was the international judge of the competition, a fact that was one of the key reasons I initially entered the competition. I must say that his glowing comments about our scheme was one of the highlights of the evening for me.

Kevin was very gracious and told me he loved our design, and felt that it was the one that was unique to Christchurch sensibilities.


I was also heartened by the many people who would seem to support our scheme also being built.  Our design is certainly adaptable to other sites, so I was interested in the chitchat around the room about what other land was potentially available.

So disappointment aside, this was a positive experience for me and my team and I hope we will get to play a role in the inner city rejuvenation in the future.  We really enjoyed working with our developer partner Ceres New Zealand.  Ceres has carried out a lot of demolition and rebuild  work in Christchurch and I know they too were looking forward to working on this project.

In other words, I won’t be throwing out our Breathe plans any time soon.