Viva update: Breathe competition and development options

The final presentation in last weeks networking meeting followed on nicely from Robin Allison’s presentation about structures and development options.  Jürg Hönger and Jane Quigley gave us an update on the progress with the Breathe Urban Village design competition and then presented a range of development options that they have been researching.

Viva and Jasmax are continuing to work to some tight deadlines with the Breathe competition organisers.  To begin moving to the next level, the Viva core team is now calling on those who have an interest in actually being part of the Viva community – as owners, tenants or investors – to come together to form functional groups to begin planning some of the concrete steps towards realising the vision.  (See workshop invitation.)


There are a number of ways a sustainable urban village can be developed:

The options

  1. Developer-led
  2. Partnerships between developers and residential groups (most common in US)
  3. Community-led, employs a professional team such as a Development/Project Manager, freeing the group to focus on building the social community
  4. Community-led, with community taking on all financial risk, development project management and implementation. Often this pathway costing more and taking longer.

For more details see the full presentation.

Full details of the next workshop.



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.

The Breathe Anchor Project

breathe – The new urban village project… is an international competition to design and build a new place for living in the Central City.”

Viva and Jasmax join forces for the “breathe” Urban Village Design competition

Viva is proud to be collaborating with Jasmax to develop our entry in the competition. Together, our unique strengths make for a powerful combination. Viva represents the collective voice and participatory leadership of the people of Christchurch. Jasmax brings its cutting edge design experience, as well as the sustainable values of the Living Building Challenge, “the built environment’s most rigorous performance standard.”

Designers and developers from all around the world have been invited to submit entries for a sustainable and commercially viable, medium density urban village for Christchurch, to inspire fresh creativity in the city’s rebuild following the devastating February 2010 earthquake.

The site is located on the edge of the planned green belt and has easy access to green spaces, the new performing arts precinct, entertainment, retail and transport. As such it will be a perfect showcase for what is possible for modern, 21st century living – and therefore perfectly suited to the unique strengths of the Viva-Jasmax partnership.

Stage One of the competition requires designers to pair up with a developer and to offer a design-led submission demonstrating how their entry responds to the brief. In Stage Two, the three leading designs selected by the judges and will work with the organisers to take their concept to the design stage. The winning entry will be decided based on the quality of the fully developed design, as well as the financial offer and terms of the development agreement for the site.

The competition site is located just north of Latimer Square bordered by Armagh St to the north, Madras St to the west and Gloucester St to the south as indicated approximately in the map below. The official site plan PDF is available here.