Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Rebuild Christchurch Up To Tree-height, Says Top Architect | Voxy.co.nz The rebuild of the Christchurch central business district (CBD) should be up to tree-height, seldom higher than four storeys, a leading New Zealand landscape architect Di Lucas said today. Lucas said lower height limits enable more people-friendly city environments. She did an analysis for the Civic Trust 20 years ago and now is the time to reconsider this approach as Christchurch looks at re-building options, she said. ``The current City Plan lacks design controls and measures to make the CBD beautiful and sustainable. An urgent change is needed. We don't want just utilitarian structures. We need a city with the X factor, to attract businesses, workers and visitors. Not again draughty spaces below high-rise and exposed to the easterly; buildings ignoring the solar resource; and, outmoded transport options. We could change it from a tired energy-hungry city to an appealing sustainable garden city. ``This time, we must allow for functioning natural systems; managing rainfall with permeable surfaces; daylighting streams; maximising local materials; greening roofs, and having vegetated public and private spaces forming pleasant micro-climates,'' said Lucas, a former president of the NZ Institute of Landscape Architects. "Whole street blocks have been mostly destroyed so their layout needs to be re-thought comprehensively to create more appealing urban spaces that showcase cutting-edge design." ``We need to reorganise spaces and access, with more green areas within a low rise city, using tree canopy - three or four storeys - as a measure. Noosa on the Sunshine Coast formalised their height limits to tree canopy height, and everyone loves that city. You don't need to see the sea from within the centre, you can sense it, and enjoy the microclimate from a low rise environs. ``We went to the Environment Court for a local group eight years ago in a battle against Christchurch City Council and developers regarding building heights surrounding Victoria Square. The council had proposed an 80m height limit - over 20 stories. The court almost halved that and reduced heights to 15m along the Avon corridor. That fits the tree canopy measure.''
Posted by Mike Galvin at 9:55 PM