Christchurch’s New Shipping Container Mall

On September 4, 2010 a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck New Zealand’s third most populous urban area, Christchurch. Despite the damaged infrastructure, no casualties were reported.

On February 22, 2011, nearly six months after the first earthquake, Christchurch was struck with a magnitude 6.3  earthquake. The epicentre was located close to the city centre and at a depth of just 5 km (3 mi). The shallow depth and previously weakened infrastructure lead to the collapse of many major buildings within the city and the death of 182 people (NZ Police).

The six storey Canterbury Television (CTV) building, which was declared structurally safe after the 2010 earthquake, collapsed and killed 115 people. A report released by New Zealand’s Department of Building and Housing after the collapse claimed that the structure, built in 1986, was not up to either previous or current standards (New Zealand Ministry).

Cantebury Television Building After the 2011 Earthquake. Photo Credit:

The aftermath of these two earthquakes brought the city to a halt, and a ‘Red Zone’ perimeter was established to keep people away from the damaged infrastructure. However, the city of Christchurch has since made huge progress in bringing life back into the city centre. As part of re-building the city, architects and engineers have used the blank canvas to develop new, cutting edge building techniques.

In my previous post entitled “Cardboard: An Alternative Construction Material“, I profiled the new cathedral that was constructed out of cardboard. In addition, a new shopping complex has been constructed in the city centre using recycled shipping containers. The project, which was completed in just eight weeks, has help bring life back into the city. The construction and opening of the shopping complex are presented in the following documentary.

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