Walkspace, an organisation that's dedicated to enhancing public spaces, recently collaborated with us at ENI for several street projects in the Christchurch CBD that are intended to help with the City's rebuild and contribute to the facelift. Picnic benches and an ode to paradise ducks and kereru at the Margaret Mahy Playground, shade sails in New Brighton, and several installations at Evolution Square are some of the examples.

The designs are initially delivered to us as a CAD model. This means we need to make some adjustments for manufacture, and we work with them on a modified design so they can be built with greater ease and less cost. We continue to collaborate with Walkspace from design through to production, especially during the installation phase.

One of the main ideas behind the designs has been to create a communal space that helps entice people back into the CBD. The installations in Evolution Square are a good example of this, from colourful bleachers for people to sit on, to handrails, information signage and large garden planters. They provide a central focus point that encourages people to stop and look, and to sit and observe.

Evolution Square

As mentioned, we've been able to come up with more economical ways to manufacture the designs. For example, the handrail in Evolution Square was originally designed as a solid piece of 16mm flatbar steel. We were able to offer some design innovation that changed the design to a folded, 5mm profile instead, which was cheaper to produce but still retained the look and feel of the original concept.

The same was true of the bleachers in Evolution Square. Originally intended to be fully galvanised, we were able to come up with a compromise of aluminium and galvanised that helped to save on costs, as well as the physical weight of the bleachers.

The tribute to ducks and kereru at the Margaret Mahy Playground was another project ENI had a significant amount of design input into. Then the manufacturing challenge was to create the folded-angle 'look', and enable them to be ground-mounted.

The tribute to ducks and kereru

This has all been part of the overall effort to lift the aesthetic qualities of the CBD and encourage Christchurch residents, and people from around New Zealand and the world to return to the city and see the changes taking place, the positive effects of the rebuild. Because it's been mostly a building site since the earthquakes, with a sea of road cones sometimes making travel difficult, there's been a tendency to avoid the CBD unless necessary. Working with Walkspace, we've been part of an effort to improve the look and feel of the CBD, to attract people back and give them communal spaces that are pleasing to the eye.

Not only that, but the locations of the installations all tie in together. They form a kind of 'walkthrough' that leads people through the CBD. From the hospital through to the Margaret Mahy Playground, and then links through High Street and Montreal Street, there are interesting and aesthetically pleasing designs and installations to accompany walkers.

If you’d like to find out more about the work that went into the Christchurch CBD projects, or would like to chat with someone about how ENI can help with your upcoming project, contact us today.