Landmark architectural designs for the new Christchurch Centre have been released, with construction now underway at the AccorHotels-managed venue.

Christchurch Centre General Manager, Rob McIntyre, says the convention centre will be a dream space for organisers and delegates, designed with a distinctive South Island flavour.

“Our stunning new venue is now underway on a prime riverfront site, in the heart of New Zealand’s newest city,” he says.

Designed by international firm Woods Bagot, the Christchurch Centre promises to be a landmark facility of outstanding architectural significance. Its central, walkable location, cultural and heritage references, and flexible design layout are key features.

“We have studied the best practice worldwide and designed purpose-built boutique facilities around the way our clients work, creating seamless transitions between spaces and sessions,” Woods Bagot says.

“The venue will be responsive to a wide range of event requirements for up to 2000 delegates, all within easy walking distance of city hotels.”

The tiered 1400-delegate auditorium is ideal for large plenary sessions, and can be scaled to allow up to three events to run concurrently. It is complemented by break-out space in meeting rooms – from boardroom scale to large flat floor plenary sessions. The purpose-built banqueting area has separate capacity to host the total number of convention delegates. An exhibition hall supports the exhibition component of conventions, while public circulation space allows for informal meetings and comfortable pre-event gathering spaces. Support infrastructure includes dedicated offices for professional conference organisers, a hospitality lounge, boardroom, crew room and speaker preparation rooms.

The main entrance to the Centre opens out to Christchurch’s picturesque Ōtākaro Avon River, and has been designed to reflect the fluid curves of the South Island’s braided rivers. The Centre is surrounded by green spaces, parks and gardens fronting onto the river. Stories of the local Māori people are interwoven through every aspect of the design.

“Christchurch ticks all the boxes for destination appeal, accessibility, educational opportunities, and networking. It is the gateway to the magnificent South Island, with an excellent international airport and an attractive, compact city centre,” McIntyre says.

New Zealand’s second largest city is also home to world-class universities, Crown research facilities, start-up accelerators, and specialist innovation and health precincts.

“Here we can bring together people from all over the world with interests in Christchurch’s specialist areas of expertise, including earth sciences, health sciences, agriculture, food science, international education, building and environmental technology.”

The Christchurch Centre is a New Zealand Government project and is managed by AccorHotels.

The first images of the new venue were on show to international event organisers at CINZ Meetings 2017 in Auckland this week.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management