Tūranga Christchurch Central Library
 

Tūranga Christchurch Central Library

Client:
Christchurch City Council

Location:
Christchurch

Completion:
2018

Size:
10,000m2

Project Value:
$95m

Design Partner
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Sustainability
5 Green Star - Custom Design Certified Rating NZGBC

Contact:
Carsten Auer

Christchurch’s central library was badly damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes. As part of the city’s recovery strategy a replacement library was identified as a key project to assist the revitalisation of the city centre and Cathedral Square.

Architectus in association with Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects was commissioned for brief development, design and delivery of the new central library in 2013.

The new central library brief outlined the need for the facility to deliver a flagship for the Christchurch library network, act as a catalyst for redevelopment and fulfill an important civic function. The library needed to convey the values and identity of both the library and the community it serves.

The building is a beacon, creating a vibrant edge to Cathedral Square and a dialogue between the civic space of the Square and the activities within the library, particularly the key public space of the Community Arena.

The project responds to the changing role of libraries in today’s environment, the local context and international trends in library design. The library provides a social hub for the community to access and share knowledge through a range of media, in a building which is welcoming, diverse and representative of the community it serves.

Collaboration and stakeholder engagement were key components of the project. A brief development process and continual consultation with the public and key stakeholders provided an understanding of the community’s aspirations.

In partnership with Matapopore Trust a multi-layered and intricate bicultural design response was developed and as a result, the design addresses ‘the local’ as a key functional and aesthetic driver.

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Tūranga is a building of distinction that admirably fulfils its function as Christchurch’s main library, and also, with its strong but not overbearing presence, makes a very important contribution to the shaping of the Square and the signifying of the public realm of the central city. The collaboration with Matapopore Charitable Trust and Ngāi Tuāhuriri has been thoroughgoing and influential, informing the experience of whakamanuhiri, the ‘bringing in’ of visitors and their ascent via generous and well-crafted stairways that rise through a light-filled atrium in a manner suggestive of the passage of the mythical hero Tāwhaki to the heavens. The design offers a range of well-considered and appropriately differentiated spaces, complemented by sympathetic material selection, and the pleasure of occupation and use is enhanced by the library’s service as an urban balcony offering perspectives on and connections to the surrounding city, Christchurch’s rural hinterland and the Southern Alps.

2019 John Scott Award for Public Architecture: NZIA National Jury Citation 

Client:
Christchurch City Council

Location:
Christchurch

Completion:
2018

Size:
10,000m2

Project Value:
$95m

Design Partner
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Sustainability
5 Green Star - Custom Design Certified Rating NZGBC

Contact:
Carsten Auer

Awards

NZIA John Scott Award for Public Architecture 2019
NZIA New Zealand Architecture Award – Public 2019
PCNZ Property Industry Award – Supreme Award 2019
PCNZ Property Industry Award Best in Category – Civic & Arts 2019
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Public Architecture 2019
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Interior Architecture 2019
NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Colour Award 2019