London, United Kingdom
New York, New York
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Auckland, New Zealand
Designed by Woods Bagot in association with Warren and Mahoney, Te Pae has been recognised by PCNZ for speaking directly to the landscape of Christchurch, embedding craft, cultural meaning and—critically—a sensitivity to the place of Ngāi Tūāhuriri / Ngāi Tahu.
In their citation of the win, PCNZ describe Te Pae as, “a project that needs little introduction”.
“Designed as Christchurch’s gathering place, this anchor project draws on the meandering streams of Canterbury as its inspiration, delivering a world-class facility that is already attracting international attention.”
The ideology of crafting a building that speaks of its location endured as the main driver across the life of this project, and the vehicle for all decisions throughout the design process. Opting to integrate the facility into the city centre, the architects also turned it to face towards the river—a move that ushers in Christchurch’s new urban sensibility.
The structure’s fluid form not only marks a departure from the typical, ‘rectangular box’ appearance of convention halls across the world, but it also mirrors New Zealand’s iconic Southern Alps – an important reference that ties the structure to its land.
Identity further developed through connections to the Southern Alps across the plains, and to the distinctive braided rivers of the Canterbury landscape. The geographical language of the braided rivers is translated architecturally as ribbons that wrap around contours of the building’s two major components—the exhibition hall and the auditorium.
With a 28,000m2 floor area, Te Pae includes a 1,400-seat tiered auditorium, a 2,800m2 exhibition space, an 1,800-seat banquet space as well as 24 other meeting rooms and state-of-the-art audio visual, ICT, and rigging provisions
As the PCNZ summarise in their citation: “The quality is impressive, the attention to detail is flawless, and the overall outcome is an asset to New Zealand.”