The Test of Time
With Christchurch in full rebuild mode, Cityscape caught up with CoLab Architecture’s Blair Paterson and Tobin Smith for the lowdown on the finer points of creating timeless architecture.
It’s fair to say that the dust has now settled in Christchurch and the city rebuild is well and truly underway. As the city transitions from demolition to reconstruction, the urgency to get projects moving forward presents a new challenge for architects and designers. People are understandably eager to get back into their homes and start using the city again; however, this eagerness can bring about shotgun decisions that often result in less than appealing architecture.
Christchurch has always been celebrated for its strong architectural language, from the historic Gothic structures of Benjamin Mountfort to the slick modernist forms of Sir Miles Warren. All of this history has shaped what is known as ‘the Christchurch style’, and although a lot of these examples have been lost, certain principles can be adopted to create a new contemporary vernacular.
The key to creating ‘new’ timeless architecture is consideration to all aspects of the build. This starts with physical layout and building form that responds well to the surrounding context. Modern influences are important – however it is equally important to reference and evolve past movements to invent our own unique language, rather than subscribing to popular trend.
Strong uncomplicated forms can create the most sophisticated architectural aesthetic. Selection of quality materials and attention to the finer detail is paramount in achieving a sense of solidity and permanence – although it is difficult to predict future movements in design, honest, natural materials never date!