The Lab was a joint project between the architecture and spatial design faculties of AUT University, The University of Auckland and UNITEC. These institutions worked alongside students, local academics, designers and architects to develop a series of two to three week-long interdisciplinary design projects.

Professor Andrew Barrie and his team of University of Auckland students are developing proposals for how the sites of a number churches destroyed by the Christchurch earthquakes can be redeveloped so as to provide both for their congregations and for the communities they are seeking to serve. The project looks to put Christchurch’s current challenges in the context of the rebuilding of Napier after the 1931 earthquake and subsequent fires, and of the future challenges facing Auckland - where both increased insurance costs and building code changes threaten to cut a swathe through our stock of heritage buildings, creating a slow-motion earthquake that may devastate New Zealand’s towns and cities for decades to come.

Tuesday 23 July – Sunday 11 August

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We're under way!

We’re under way! As a way to examine the impact of disasters on cities, I’m working with a team of fantastically clever andindustrious University of Auckland architecture students on research and design project looking at the use of church land in Christchurch. The widespread destruction of churches in the Canterbury earthquakes, while tragic, has allowed churches a rare moment of freedom to reconsider the use and disposition of their physical structures. The mainstream churches, collectively among the largest landowners in the city, have the capacity to alter the social and urban atmosphere of the city. The question for us is - how might church land be strategically reoccupied in order to better tend their congregations and serving their communities?

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