While the Christchurch earthquakes devastated many lives and my heart goes out to those affected, it has given us a great opportunity to create an elegant and warm city after dark.
Victoria Street is an important entrance to the CBD and should be an important consideration when it comes to lighting. My vision would see it as a welcoming corridor to the centre of Christchurch that would make people feel happy and safe. This would involve multi-functional fittings. Poles would be constructed along the street with more than one light attached. Existing poles would be used where possible.
For example, one of these lights would create a pool of light on the ground with shadows. This affect with warm temperature lighting forms a breathtaking atmosphere, far more so than merely saturating the area with light. Another fitting could be directed at a building to illustrate its elegance.
None of this would affect the road lighting. That would stay the same.
My interest in Victoria Street is partly because I’ve already worked on Knox Church. See the image above. This took heavy damage after the Earthquake and now stands like a shell on the corners of Victoria Street and Bealey Avenue.
This project was not about creating something new, but highlighting the beauty of what remained. We removed most of the existing fittings and focused on eight lights to illuminate the stunning main ceiling. The warmth of the light and the focus on the ceiling has brought the church back to life after dark as Victoria Streets begins to enter a new phase in its history.