Project of the Month | Law, order and good design

In a global first, Christchurch’s visionary purpose-built Justice and Emergency Services Precinct has consolidated the city’s police and emergency response functions into one cutting-edge facility.

The Precinct is a major post-earthquake build, bringing together the Ministry of Justice, Police, Department of Corrections, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, St John New Zealand, Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and Christchurch City Council’s civil defence and emergency arm.

Stretching across 43,000 square metres in the central city block bordered by Tuam, Durham and Lichfield streets – and at a cost to the client of $340 million – the Precinct articulates the design vision and aspirations of the Recovery Plan developed following the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Achieving Excellence in the Civic and Arts category of the 2018 Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards, it’s the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history. Designed to be the nerve centre for Canterbury’s management of major emergencies, it’s built to a seismic resilience importance Level 4 standard and can be operational soon after a disastrous event.

At the centre of the complex is an open square with landscaping and informal seating. The law court building represents a departure from the ‘defensiveness’ of the facilities it replaces, with a new level of openness, light and accessibility.

The material palette of bronzed aluminium, basalt, limestone, glass and timber lends civic weight in a contemporary way. Lead architects Warren and Mahoney worked on the project, with Opus Architecture and Cox Architecture. The narratives, histories and aspirations of Ngāi Tahu/Ngāi Tuahuriri artists are also woven into the design.



Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

20 Lichfield Street, Christchurch

Owner Ministry of Justice

Developer Ministry of Justice

Construction Fletcher Construction

Architect Warren and Mhoney, Opus Architecture and Cox Architecture

Services Engineer WSP Opus

Structural Engineer Holmes Consulting Group

Mechanical Engineer Opus

Quantity Surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall

Project Manager RCP

Soft Fitout Vidak


This article was originally published in the 2018 Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards Magazine.

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