The renewal of Christchurch New Zealand, after a devastating earthquake, took a giant leap with the opening of a pedestrian shopping mall made from shipping containers. The brightly colored boxes held 27 stores as part of the City Mall ReSTART project.
The initial success was overwhelming, as residents and tourists alike found the area to have some serious eco-style. The mall also offered a bit of normalcy to residents just recently inundated by the daunting task of finding new homes and rebuilding a city.
Christchurch had lost a lot of infrastructure, in addition to 166 lives lost in the February 22nd earthquake. The town was looking for novel designs to help the city bounce back, like that of Shigura Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral. The shipping container mall was one of the city’s most striking features of renewal.
Featuring mostly locally-owned stores that had been a part of the community for years; the development took only months to put together, but still had a sense of thoughtful design, as well as bright open spaces with interesting gathering areas to linger on warm spring weekends.
The ReSTART container mall closed on Sunday, April 30th of this year. Since its opening in October of 2011, the temporary solution became an internationally famous icon and symbol of post-quake Christchurch innovation that lasted five-and-a-half-years.
Yet the trend doesn’t stop here. Shopping malls featuring shipping containers are going up all over the US including New York, Las Vegas and Kapaa Hawaii. There is even talk of a container development going up in our hometown here in Waco! For more container news, stay tuned.