Christchurch Central Library

Christchurch/ New Zealand

Size/ 9,500 m²
Competition/ Winner of contract in an international competition, 2014
Status/ expected completion 2018
Client/ Christchurch City Council
Local architect/ Architectus
Consultants/ Arup Sydney/ Mott MacDonald/ Marshall Day/ Planz Consulting/ Opus/SGH/ Beca/ Aurecon/ DLNZ/Aecom
Photo/ Christchurch City Libraries Flickr

The New Central Library is one of the anchor projects in the Recovery Plan for the city of Christchurch after the damaging earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan provides the framework for the redevelopment of Christchurch city centre, which was severely damaged by the earthquakes. The design concept for the Recovery Plan is for a greener, more accessible city with a compact city centre and a strong identity.

The earthquakes struck one of New Zealand’s oldest cities, a community with deep ties to the land, the environment and each other. The new building will be the flagship of the Christchurch library network and provide an important civic function as a social gathering point in the rebuilt city.

The new library has the potential to increase the activity and vibrancy of the north east corner of Cathedral Square. The proposal’s aim is to activate, to encapsulate and to communicate the visual connection between the square and the library.

The Library is designed with strong references to the Ngai Tahu´s social and cultural traditions like the Pataka, a main component comprising the essence of this culture and symbolizing a knowledge storehouse raised upon posts.

Building a cultural project like NCL to regenerate the city will draw on its rich natural and cultural heritage, and the skills and passion of its people, to embrace opportunities for innovation and growth. Redevelopment will acknowledge the past and the events that have shaped the city, while reflecting the best of the new.

The aim of Christchurch Central Library is to become a vibrant city for all people and cultures recognizing, in particular, the Ngai Tahu heritage and places of social and historical significance.

The expected completion of Christchurch Central Library is 2018.

The Library progresses on-site with the placement of its facade veil elements.

Elements like the Pataka, a community arena, a plinth and an urban carpet are essential to achieve a strong connection to the civic space of Cathedral Square.

The new library will be the city’s hub for knowledge, heritage materials, recreational reading and listening, an integral part of the city and a gateway to the world via its library collections and digital access. It will develop a strong community, a place where cultural diversity is celebrated and citizens are engaged, inspired and informed.

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