River Recovery

Te Pae Convention Centre is a key piece of the Christchurch Rebuild and helps establish a strong cultural narrative throughout the central city.

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

The Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre Precinct is one of seventeen anchor projects initiated as a part of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan—a 100-day collaboration process where architects and urban planners devised a recovery program for the central business district affected by a 2011 earthquake. Located in the heart of Christchurch, the new building is capable of hosting up to 2,000 delegates for a variety of national and international events and includes a 1,400-delegate auditorium, a 3,600-square-metre exhibition hall and 1,600-square-metres of meeting rooms overlooking the nearby Victoria Square.

Project details

The design is for a fluid and undulating façade that responds to the cultural narrative of the local iwi and the undulating Avon River flowing through the city. Advising on Ngāi Tūāhuriri / Ngāi Tahu values and narratives, the Matapopore Charitable Trust was fully embedded in the design process which refined and reinforced the ‘braided rivers’ concept which started as an early idea. In five varied tones of grey and different surface textures, 43,000 herringbone tiles build on the interplay of shades and the characteristics of a ‘living surface’, wrapping their way around the building to define entryways and revealing framed views of the surrounding context.

The main entrance to the centre opens to Oxford Terrace and the Avon River, giving visitors easy access to the Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct and creating a space for civic events.

In 2011, a devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, caused 185 deaths and over 1,500 injuries. Amid the grief was the pain of a physically broken city which lost thousands of buildings. Immediately assisting on Christchurch’s recovery masterplan, the architects were later commissioned to design the new convention centre.

Primarily a building driven by its place and the diverse cultural values of the people of Christchurch, Te Pae’s architecture culturally and geographically represents the region to local and international visitors, and will actively connect them to the regenerating city – an experience increasingly desired by convention centre operators.

Christchurch, New Zealand
Rua Paenga (formerly Ōtākaro Limited)
17,000 sqm
182,986 sf
Warren & Mahoney
  • 2017 World Architecture Festival (WAF) – Future Projects (Culture), Shortlist
  • 2023 ArchDaily Building of the Year (BOTY) – Public & Landscape Architecture, Nominee
  • 2023 WAF – Completed Buildings (Office), Shortlist
  • 2023 New Zealand Institute of Architects, Canterbury Architecture Awards – Public Architecture, Winner
  • 2023 New Zealand Architecture Awards – Public Architecture, Shortlist

Te Pae goes to the Venice Biennale