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.

Breathe Resource People

A number of design professionals generously gave their time to assist at the design workshop, incl. the following amazing people:

Jasper van der Lingen, BArch (Hons), FNZIA

Architect Jasper van der Linden.Jasper is a director of Sheppard & Rout Architects, a member of the Christchurch urban design panel and an immediate past chairman of the Canterbury branch of the NZIA. He has lived and worked in Christchurch for virtually his whole life and is committed to seeing the best possible outcome for Christchurch post quake.

Jasper has a passionate and strong interest in quality of design at all scales and in particular the promotion and implementation of sustainable solutions and outcomes. He is particularly interested in how buildings are integrated into a context and help form the unique identity, memory and cultural setting of a place in a sustainable way.

Jerome Partington, Jasmax, Auckland

Jerome is an advocate for strategic sustainability as a compelling business opportunity – asking the question ‘what does success look like and how can we achieve it?’ With a science & design training, he has worked & educated in sustainable architecture and business for twenty five years, building strong practical construction and eco technology expertise. He is focused on delivering restorative solutions for the built environment and using Integrated Sustainable Design, as a collaborative process to deliver authentic outcomes. Recently he has been led the charge to introduce The Living Building Challenge to NZ.

Justin Evert, Jasmax, Auckland

Justin Evatt is a lead Architect at JASMAX  who has been working on community centred design projects ranging from high level master planning to final project delivery, of many schools,  several  public  libraries, a recreation precinct for Otahuhu  that included a pool, library and recreation center , through to a new headquarters  for World Vision NZ, several retail and Hospitality projects and the urban streetscape work on the Britomart Transport centre.  His work is consultative and integrative driving towards the highest levels of sustainability he has been able to achieve exceptional design outcomes that are inclusive and inspiring, both for the users and the communities they serve.

Robin Allison

Robin Allison.Robin Allison is the initiator and development coordinator of Earthsong Eco-Neighbourhood, an internationally recognised 32-home cohousing neighbourhood in West Auckland committed to both social and environmental sustainability.

With her background as an architect, Robin coordinated the development, design and construction of Earthsong, including both internal group processes and external consultants and contractors. Robin is a fellow of the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship, and was profiled in the recently published book “How Communities Heal”. See the Earthsong website at

Martin Luff

Martin is committed to improving the lives of his fellow New Zealanders. Engaged in a number of community-based initiatives around Christchurch; including his work at Space Craft and the WikiHouse NZ Lab. He views these as a means to help our communities to create first-class living environments which are not only sustainable but also restorative.

A graduate in 3D/product-design, Martin then spent a periods working in both product and industrial design followed by 5 years in construction. For last 17 years he’s worked on over 300 innovative and creative projects based around a variety of digital technologies and in a number of countries. This includes work on sustainable urban design. He’s also a very long-term supporter of the International Intermediate Technology (Appropriate Technology) Development Group.

Danny Squires

Danny’s’ design Philosophy is based upon a need to create architectural, landscape & urban solutions that nurture and inspire both the user and surrounding context.

He believes, that through the application of ecological design principles on a physical, social and spiritual level, that it becomes possible to create responsive built environments that are not only sustainable in terms of their local & global impact, but create enhanced living solutions in co-operation with nature.

A graduate in architecture, Danny has worked for a range or architecture & multi-disciplinary firms in Sydney & Melbourne, Australia on a variety of projects both domestically & internationally. Highlights include lead designer for Green City Masterplan Feasibility Study, Kabul, Afghanistan and a year spent working with an international Feng Shui practitioner. More recently he has worked in the manufacturing industry managing the business development for a design focused CNC laser cutting facility and exploring the possibilities of applying mass customisation principles to the delivery of architecture.

Since Feb 2011 he has been engaged in a number of community-based initiatives around Christchurch such as Heathcote Valley ‘epicentre’ event, Green Party ‘revisioning Christchurch’ forums along with his social enterprise development work at Space Craft and the WikiHouse NZ Lab. He views these as a means to help our communities to create first-class living environments which are not only sustainable but also restorative.

Russell Devlin

Russell Devlin.Russell is a Registered Architect and director of Solarchitect ltd. and is ‘famous’ for saying that he gets most of his best ideas from his clients.

He brings to The Viva Project a commitment to passive solar design and to Environmentally Sustainable Design principles throughout his career. He is also a NZGBC HomeStar Practitioner.

Craig Jarvis

Craig Jarvis.Craig has built a couple of spec houses and has designed and managed a number of building projects. In 2008, he started to realise the scale and design of our standard type house makes no sense, and realised the need for cheap, quality houses for people with little money. Craig decided that size and quality is the key, and believes that the house of the future will be small (50sqm-100sqm), well designed, extremely efficient in heat retention, produce its own electricity,and control its own waste. He hasn’t paid an electricity bill for 4 years and never will again. He has learnt with his own social experiment, that is there is a better way.