Viva Responds to Gerry Brownlee

The Christchurch Press gave some coverage to Minister Gerry Brownlee who “slates Breathe Urban Village”, VIVA! Responds below

BrownleeA $30 million urban village planned for central Christchurch “should never have started in the first place”, Gerry Brownlee says.

Construction of the Breathe residential development was due to start in April, but the developers have not yet applied for building consents and there has been no news on the project for months.

Brownlee, who is the Earthquake Recovery Minister, criticised the the eco-friendly, timber-clad village project on Newstalk ZB Friday morning….  More more if you really want to

Christchurch, when do we get our say?

Jane Quigley of The ViVA! Project responded like this:

I’m confused? Minister Brownlee says Breathe Urban Village (Competition?) “should never have started in the first place”.  Has the $100’s and $1000’s of dollars spent on the designs of the 58 NZ and International entries all been wasted?

AerialView_BannerThe Breathe Urban Village Competition gave such hope following the earthquakes; it was meant to be the first anchor project built, something we could all be proud of.

The Viva/Jasmax entry, I was involved in, was one of the finalists. We held 8 design workshops – Christchurch community working with design professionals to create a design the people would be happy to live in. Ours was a sustainable and community focused village.

Now we have Fletcher, chosen above local bids, to develop the east and north frame precincts. “it’s a pretty sad day for Canterbury”.

Viva! is pursuing other land options and remains ready and willing to build however our success needs to be a whole community collaboration.  No one group can successfully create our future in isolation – not CERA, CCC, Ngāi Tahu, Fletcher, nor the people of Christchurch.

Let’s work together with kindness, respect and co-operation, allowing trust and the creativity to arise – then we can create the city we will be proud of.  Our community making a difference and showcasing what is possible in our City.

The following letter was published in the Christchurch Press recently

Viva Ready and Willing

Jasmax / Viva! - North EntryIn 2012 an innovative competition was launched to find a winning design for a sustainable urban village in Christchurch. The competition gave hope following the earthquakes and reflected feedback from the Share an Idea Forum.

The entry from the Viva community, with Jasmax, was one of the four finalists. The Viva Project involves Christchurch people wanting to make a difference in the city they love, building examples of modern day sustainable, community focused urban villages.

Jasmax/Viva! - CourtyardWe had detailed plans, based on extensive community consultation, and 80 parties wanting to buy/purchase in the village. However we did not submit final plans as more time was required to solve the tricky issues of land damage and affordability.

In October 2013 an Italian consortium, partnered with Holloway Builders, were announced winners from over 57 NZ and International entries. There has been little heard of them since although clear expectations were conveyed to the finalists that construction should begin within months of the award.

Viva is pursuing other land options and remains ready and willing to build, but what has happened to Breath

VivaLogoChristchurch, let’s find a way to deliver on the intentions of the Competition. Our community making a difference and showcasing what is possible in our City.


Viva on National Radio

On 10 March, Jane Quigley was interviewed by Chris Laidlaw on his Sunday Morning show as part of a programme looking into the case for higher density housing. Jane features in the first 12 minutes, and introduces the Viva Project and our entry into the Breathe urban village design competition with Jasmax.

Jane is also followed by Jukka Noponen a Finnish planner behind an energy-efficient housing project, Brady Nixon who is developing Auckland’s Vinegar Lane project and the Auckland Council’s urban design specialist Ludo Campbell-Reid.

You can listen via the player below, or on Radio New Zealand’s website.

People-led Design for Christchurch Shortlisted in ‘Breathe’ Urban Village Competition

Friday, 1 March 2013

The Jasmax & Viva! Project ‘Living Village’ design entry has been shortlisted in the Christchurch ‘Breathe’ competition.  Stage one of the competition saw designers around the world invited to enter a design competition aimed at rejuvenating a neighbourhood in the heart of Christchurch City.

The ‘Living Village’ team comprises the Viva! Project, a 300-strong collective of Christchurch citizens passionate about creating a sustainable rebuild for Christchurch, and award-winning New Zealand architectural practice, Jasmax,  with additional support provided by developer Evergreen Realty, whose mission is to create affordable and sustainable living environments.

Jasmax Principal and Design Team Leader Greg Boyden commented, “The collaborative vision for the ‘Living Village’ community is to create an innovative village model, based on social, environmental, cultural and financial sustainability.  The design incorporates a housing model that optimises the needs of the individual as well as the wider community”.
The combined strengths of the Viva! Project and Jasmax make for a powerful team. Viva represents the collective voice and participatory leadership of the people of Christchurch. Jasmax brings cutting-edge design experience, as well as the sustainable values of the Living Building Challenge – the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard.

The judging panel, including international judge Kevin McCloud commended the design stating “The village uses natural materials and native plants to harness rainwater and capture energy from the sun to deliver an exemplar of ‘one-planet’ living. The design delivers a strong sense of place and community created through its diverse housing and shared amenities surrounded by an inviting garden city setting. A further strength of this unique community-based development model is that its modest approach addresses housing affordability issues”.

The design draws on local identity and wisdom reflecting both Tangata Whenua and Pakeha influences. Innovative design features include solar electric panels, organic food-growing areas, on-site water treatment, a café, green space, a community house and positioning of homes to encourage social interaction.

[Design Boards]

Viva! Project Co-Convener, Jane Quigley said “Being selected to progress onto the next stage of the competition is a huge honour and an endorsement for all involved in this ‘people-led’ design. We believe that the Living Village will serve as a flagship example of what can be achieved not only in Christchurch, but around the world. We also commend the organisers of the competition for giving the people of Christchurch the opportunity to have an authentic say in the rebuild and revitalisation of their city”.


For more information:

For media enquiries:
Catherine Dilly, Media Relations + 64 22 322 8972,
Greg Boyden, Principal and Design Team Leader + 64 21 718 002,

The Viva! Project
Jane Quigley, Project Co-Convener + 64 274 592 371,


BREAKING NEWS!! Viva/Jasmax entry selected in Breathe Urban Village Competition!

For the official Press Release click here.

The judges decisions on the Breathe urban village design competition were announced last night and we are thrilled and honoured that the Viva/Jasmax entry has been selected as one of the four finalists to go through to the next stage.
The judges particularly commented on our strong community involvement and our very high sustainability standard. Our Living Village is based around three courtyards with a community centre near the heart and a mix of houses, apartments and a small amount of retail. It is net zero energy, very efficient in water use and the physical design encourages a strong sense of community, with many informal gathering places and layers between private and common areas. The landscape and architectural design acknowledges the history of the land, its natural environment and the cultures that have passed this way.

The Viva/Jasmax team with Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker

Here are our entry’s three design boards, illustrating our design with respect to People, Place and Planet.

The Press article: Urban Village project finalists chosen (1 March 2013)

You can see the main three design panels for all 68 entries on the Breath website and the top 22 (not 58 at stated in The Press) on the large panels in Worcester St between the council chambers and the Art Gallery.

There are wonderful things in all the entries so I think we are all looking forward to exploring them in more detail and seeing what we can learn!

We are looking forward to being given within the next few weeks more detailed briefing from the judges about what they liked about our design and what they would like to see in the next stage, and while the Jasmax design team is in Christchurch for that, we plan to have a Viva community meeting with the architects and the core Viva team involved in the design to share a lot more of the design thinking and detail, and seek your reactions. So more details about that as soon as we have the date.

The next phase of the process is to add a lot more flesh to the bones of the design, and in particular to get much more specific about costings and how we can make the development become a reality.