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First 3 Pavillion



Response, establishment, settlement

In July this year NZIA Canterbury ran a competition for the design of a portable pavilion that would promote the work of Architects, and architecture generally, in and around Christchurch.

The brief was to design a relocatable facility that could be moved to sites around Christchurch as areas were rebuilt / re-inhabited, with the minimum of cost. The Pavilion was to provide, through its architecture, a high level of publicity and exposure for the Branch, to promote the NZIA, architects, and architecture, and to demonstrate, through the pavilion’s design, the benefits of using an architect. It was to function as a public display of architectural exhibitions – drawings, models, digital material, etc. – and material relevant to the rebuild of Christchurch, in a secure, weatherproof environment that could also be used for community events. (Read the brief)

We teamed up with local designer Greg Parsonson and together submitted an entry to the competition. Conceptual we split the design three simple steps towards the settlement of the new Garden City.

“Our scheme builds upon the story of Canterbury and its re-build. From the initial tragic earthquake events, our pavilion represents a new future in three simple steps; the first three steps toward a new garden city.”

A – Response
The first step was the hard, angular metal boxes that covered the landscape, providing reassurance via physical strength: 2 x 20’ high cube containers. They contain the pavilion when transporting, but open out to provide a gallery space and a safe secure permanent enclosure for the electrical inverters that power the scheme.

B – Establishment
The second phase is the modular decking and canopy system that links the two containers. This represents the caring, people-centred response to the earthquakes, and is light and airy, shading the exhibition panels and providing a pleasant atmosphere. It is reconfigurable to take into account the needs of each site. Modular, prefabricated, with timber predominant, covering a heart of steel unistrut for simple, secure assembly of the display panels.

C – Settlement
The third and final phase is the green response, towards the settlement of the new Garden City. The regrowth evident in the city plan is echoed in the the planters containing greenery. They are an integral part of the recovery plan for Christchurch, representing the new wave of ecology that is planned to make our southern capital the pride of the south once more.


The pavilion is completely demountable and modular. With 2 x 20’ containers and a series of decking, wall & roof panels the pavillion can be assembled in an endless variety of configurations

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