Avon River Park Terraces + City Promenade

LandLAB: The project enhances access to water. It brings the spirit and ecology of the river (fluid) into a dialogue with the city (grid) where the interwoven ecologies of nature, culture, infrastructure and commerce come together at the edge of the Avon – Ōtākaro in Christchurch.

The design of the Terraces river edge precinct – located at the epicenter of Christchurch’s revitalization – transforms Oxford Terrace from a conventional street into a 2 km shared-use city promenade that replaces cars with pedestrian priority, cycling and the integration of a new tram circuit. This unique city promenade and edge condition provide the catalyst for Christchurch to turn and face the river and the critical connecting element for the Avon River Park’s sequence of public realm experiences.

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The refurbished heritage-listed Bridge of Remembrance and adjacent Park of Remembrance are reworked to establish a cohesive rivers edge destination that reveals and celebrates an existing network of heritage-listed monuments and landmarks.

A series of terraces – constructed of a sculptural set of stone-clad seats and bleachers provide new opportunities for access and occupation of the river bank. Their locations enable reciprocal relationships between the opposing river banks and support social occupation for a range of new recreational opportunities from quiet contemplation through to city-scale celebrations.

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The project incorporates a new low impact design strategy that treats promenade run-off before discharging this into the Avon as well as the ecological enhancement of the river corridor. The Promenade provides a continuous organizing element that connects a variety of different conditions and episodic experiences and activities along its length.
Bespoke paving, street furniture, and lighting establish a new urban identity for Christchurch. The paving gradient provides a transition from the city (dark) to the river (light) and subtle variations that reflect the movement of the river corridor. Bench forms and detailing are inspired by traditional ‘Mōkihi’ (reed river rafts). The Promenade provides a canvas for the cities emerging literature trail.

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The Terraces precinct redefines the relationship between the city and the river. This has been achieved by; supporting the creation and continuity of the City Promenade and river edge as an economic catalyst and social hub for the City Centre; optimising opportunities for outdoor seating/dining and public occupation; providing new opportunities to engage with and connect to the river and ‘touch the water’; enhancing the setting of the existing collection of heritage bridges and structures in particular the Bridge of Remembrance, and respecting and enhance the ‘park-like’ setting of the Park of Remembrance.

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Upon the re-imagined banks of the Ōtākaro, this project establishes a new, continuous, and vibrant edge, which fundamentally redefines the relationship between river and city. The Promenade provides a focal point where the flows of the river, community, and commerce come together. It reconfigures the river edge from its pre-earthquake condition as a conventional vehicle dominated streetscape to a pedestrian priority precinct with shared use for cyclists and public transport and limited/controlled access for private cars.

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Short office name: LandLAB
Role of the office in the project: Landscape Architects + Urban Design
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Boffa Miskell
Website: landlab.co.nz

Project location: 124 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011
Design year: 2014
Year Built: 2018


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