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Christchurch Central Library

Christchurch/ New Zealand

Size/ 9 – 12.000 m²
Competition/ Winner of contract in an international competition, 2014
Client/ Christchurch City Council
Local architect/ Architectus
Consultants/ Arup Sydney/ Mott MacDonald/ Marshall Day/ Planz Consulting/ Opus/SGH/ Beca/ Aurecon/ DLNZ/Aecom

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 aim 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 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.

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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