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The Arcades Project

Corner of Durham & Kilmore Streets, (since 1 June 2013 – )

The Arcades Project offers a dramatic and beautiful framework for temporary activity and an urban scale to any vacant site and its surrounds. This project was born from a desire for new ways to add movable infrastructure to empty sites for community and public events. Designed to be reconfigurable and relocatable, the structures have the potential to enliven vacant sites around Christchurch for the next 25 years.

Consisting of ten modular units 6.3 metres high, each describing an open vault, The Arcades Project creates a grand space for events – everything from markets to performances. The arcades support electricity and lighting and are capable of being covered to create internal space. The design makes lovely use of negative space and the structures appear lightweight and relatively insubstantial but define a very large area.

Their first deployment is on the former Crowne Plaza site on the corner of Durham and Kilmore Streets, arranged in two arcades of five bays each. Sited along the diagonal axis of this prominent city site they will support special events and their accentuation of Victoria Street as a public walkway through to Victoria Square is graceful and poignant.

While the shape of the arches references Christchurch’s rich Gothic Revival architectural heritage, the design’s stripped-back engineered timber frames hint at a possible architectural future for the city.

The realisation of the project mirrors the intensely shared nature of city-making: it has been immensely collaborative and community-driven with a huge input from volunteers and generous sponsorship from local and national businesses and local government.

The Arcades Project was a finalist in the national Timber Design Awards 2014.

Get involved! The Arcades Project is open to all. Email thearcadesproject@festa.org.nz to use The Arcades Project for an event, market or special occasion.