British-based firms head to earthquake-hit Christchurch to help redesign parts of city

Landscape and urban designers from British-based firms are to repair and green up parts of New Zealand that were wrenched apart by lethal earthquakes two years ago.

Multidisciplinary practices BDP and ARUP have been chosen to prepare design proposals for the regeneration of the Avon River precinct in central Christchurch. The city was shaken in early 2011 by a quake that killed and caused massive damage.

Initial studies will start this week, 7 January, with a landscape and urban design team moving to Christchurch. Building is due to start later in the year. BDP has business interests in Australia but this is its first project win in New Zealand.

"The overall recovery plan envisages a greener, more accessible city with a compact core, stronger built identity and a greater focus on people and nature," said BDP, which is working with local firms Opus and Royal Associates Architects and EOS.

"The Avon River flows through the centre and the regeneration strategy proposes a sinuous path is used to define the new river precinct. The study will make proposals for badly damaged city blocks, with connections to the water."

Christchurch is the country’s second largest city and the government set up an earthquake recovery authority after the devastation to help bring about its recovery and redevelopment.

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