In quake-ravaged Christchurch, the Re:START Mall, a pop-up project built from shipping containers, is bringing civic and public pride back into the city.
On 22 February 2011, a massive earthquake devastated the centre of Christchurch, killing 181 people. Less than a year later, the central business district has been revitalised with a new 'pop up' shopping mall, made entirely out of shipping containers.
Dubbed Re:Start, the concept narrowly beat London’s Boxpark Shoreditch to the title of world’s first pop up mall. Boxpark’s Roger Wade has since controversially threatened legal action claiming they stole his idea after city planners came to him for help and advice.
The concept uses 60 brightly coloured shipping containers stacked into two separate horseshoe configurations and speckled with lots of natural planting and seating.
There are 27 retailers and two cafes, as well as a host of smaller food kiosks. Plenty of open air seating and a stage for outdoor events have made this a vibrant new district and a tourist destination in its own right.
Ironically, retail in Christchurch had been suffering before the earthquake, as much of the retail was spread across a wider area. Of the 27 retailers in the new Re:Start mall, many are now reporting increased trading as a result of being in a more dense shopping district. This density provides a retail ‘ecosystem’ that both feeds off and nourishes each other.
Unlike Boxpark, which is a single line of stacked containers, Re:Start is more varied, with cantilevered and projecting units, balconies and cut out windows. This is more visually interesting.
We love Re:Start because it's a simple, creative solution, because it looks great and most of all, because it is the sign of a vibrant community