16 May 22

The convention centre that ‘couldn’t be anywhere else’ officially opens

It’s been twelve years since the city of Christchurch was devastated by a deadly earthquake. With this week’s official opening the new Te Pae Christchurch Convention and Exhibition Centre, the city is showing its people and the world that it continues to rebuild and regenerate. Te Pae is one of eleven anchor projects throughout the city for the Blurprint project to rebuild the city.

Honouring the heritage of Māori and Pākehā (white) New Zealanders, the design by Woods Bagot with Warren and Mahoney embeds craft, cultural meaning, and a sensitivity to the place of Ngāi Tuahuriri / Ngāi Tahu. Wrapped in a fluid façade of nearly 43,000 façade tiles (in five variations, individually numbered and placed) the building evokes the expansive braided rivers whose fast-flowing waters formed the region’s Canterbury Plains.
Ōtākaro Limited

“I think that’s what’s special about the project. You’re connected to Christchurch and it couldn’t be anywhere else.”

Photo of the opening night

Conventions centres are also regularly unresponsive and unforgiving to their place. Here, the architects approached the design with particular sensitivity to site.

Woods Bagot Principal Bruno Mendes says that stitching Te Pae into the various nuances of the city is vastly important, for local vitality and the delegates attending events, many for whom Te Pae will offer their first experience of Christchurch.

“From inside, framed views out curate the site for you. Views from the function room back to Cathedral Square; the opening out onto Victoria Square; the leaning toward the river—these were very specific moves to make the building engage strongly with what’s around it.”

“I think that’s what’s special about the project,” says Mendes. “You’re connected to Christchurch and it couldn’t be anywhere else.”

We’re immensely proud of Woods Bagot’s work on Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and this week’s official opening is an opportunity to congratulate everyone associated with this epic project, and to the locals whose city will stream with a new vitality.

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