Text description provided by the architects. Located overlooking the proposed Metro Sports Facility at the Western end of Moorhouse Ave on the fringe of the Christchurch CBD, the brief called for a new commercial development with a mix of bulk retail, office space and hospitality.
As the new building is on a major arterial route in Christchurch, it primarily experienced while driving. Our design approach was to generate the building as a billboard that shifts dynamically as you drive East or West along Moorhouse Ave, capturing the motorists’ attention.
The building is cast as collection of characters and references to Christchurch’s architectural canon. Amongst others, the cast includes the striped façade of the Antigua Boat Sheds, and the zigzag verandah of Paul Pascoe’s, now lost, Christchurch Domestic Airport Terminal.
During demolition of the previous earthquake damaged building on site a large hand painted sign was revealed, ‘The Farmers’. As this sign would be archived again, between our new building and the neighbours’ existing building, we decided it should to be translated into the design of the façade of the new building.
An abstract machine was created to manipulate the vertical sun shading fins and gloss/matt Alucobond panels of the façade through Binary and Morse code to give the impression of a random fin and façade pattern, allowing the ‘The Farmers’ sign to be coded within the new façade.
Functionally, the ground floor consists of a café/restaurant space at the entrance corner. This space opens an outdoor dining area underneath the faceted mirror stainless soffit of the cantilevered floor above.
The remainder of the ground floor consists of large format retail and office space.
The first floor is accessed via a dramatic double height foyer space, which is capped with a large skylight. A faceted wall battened with cedar cascades down from the skylight to the ground.
The foyer staircase is defined a blackened steel balustrade which folds into flush into the tiled floor at the base of the staircase.