Workshop to help Chch rebuild lightly on the land

An international workshop is being arranged for mid-February to help the Christchurch rebuild by placing new structures lightly on the land.

The workshop is being organised by the Peterborough Village, the first community village inside Christchurch's quake-battered central business district (CBD). The business and residential precinct sits within Colombo, Salisbury and Barbadoes Sts through to the Avon River.

We understand there are options for lightweight, cheaper but robust structures to sit lightly on the soft land as alternatives to the standard heavy structures being proposed on deep vertical piles, the village spokesperson Di Lucas said today.

''With gravels buried five to 20 metres below ground level, it is appropriate that other methods are explored.

"The engineering department at Canterbury University is world-renowned for research into lightweight, quake resilient structures. It is high time their techniques were applied locally. Other methods have been developed overseas. We want a robust technical workshop exploring their application in our area."

"In much of the CBD the cost of stronger and deeper foundations under post-quake by-laws could be unaffordable for some people. A two-storied, tilt-slab building, like the Valentino's restaurant re-build in Colombo St, would cost about $300,000 for the foundations alone. This is quite exorbitant for a 200 sq. m. building."

"That's why we are running this workshop to get alternative designs. We would like to do case studies on local sites for which geo-tech reports are available, such as Valentino's. We want the village to be a cutting edge, innovative hub for redevelopment with the focus on affordable resilience and sustainability.''

The village precinct has traditionally been, and is intended to remain, half commercial and half residential, but it is hugely damaged. Most blocks will soon have scarcely a building remaining. This provides great opportunity for innovative redevelopment.

Village chairperson Mark McEntyre said they were inviting key experts to apply alternative design concepts that have been researched and tested. A public presentation is proposed following the workshop to demonstrate the desired options. Also, the village would publish a summary of the workshop at

Posted on 04/01/2012 by Lucas Associates |