29 May 2013 — A shopping precinct, built in Christchurch’s Cashel Mall to help re-establish trading after the 2011 earthquake, has won the New Zealand Architecture Award in the Planning and Urban Design.

Re:START was developed by the New Zealand arm of architecture and design firm The Buchan Group.

The precinct’s unique design is centred on the use of shipping containers, a portable, modular system that can be used for single or multi-storeys to create a vibrant retail precinct.

The judges’ comments on the project were:

“A project animated by an enterprising spirit and realised through a burst of collaborative endeavour has generated a social dividend to Christchurch well as a commercial return to the city’s inner city retailers.

“The Re:START container shopping precinct is an imaginative experiment in urban revitalisation, and by virtue of its human scale and it’s courtyards and intimate laneways it offers a demonstrably popular model for the Christchurch rebuild.

“Although designed as a temporary and inexpensive solution, the colourful and vibrant mini-neighbourhood evinces many of the qualities of good urban design.”

The Buchan Group is continuing work on subsequent stages of the Re:START project, including the newly-completed food zone and retail container relocation.

The entire process for the Re:START project, from concept design to completion took just 27 weeks, with Leighs Construction completing the build within eight weeks.

It was opened in October 2011.

The Buchan Group principal Peter Zillman said his firm was “proud that we had the chance to help the Christchurch CBD back on its feet following the earthquake, and that the project has been so well received by the public”.

The New Zealand Architecture Awards were held on May 24.

See out story: New Zealand architecture awards 2013