15 Feb 2023

Open Christchurch, the annual festival of architectural excellence, returns on 6 and 7 May 2023 with its biggest programme to date.

For the festival’s third edition, Te Pūtahi - Centre for architecture and city-making and its family of building partners will open up 52 buildings over the course of one weekend that range in ages, styles and uses for residents and visitors to explore, and offer 4 guided walks that survey a series of public spaces and buildings from different perspectives.

Anticipation is building in the lead up to the full programme release on Friday 24 March.  

This year’s festival will celebrate the work of Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney, take a closer look at the city’s coastal identity through its architecture and explore educational architecture over the span of 159 years, in addition to a range of heritage treasures, returning favourites and one-off experiences.

A public programme of talks, tours, exhibitions and activities runs parallel to the open buildings, which invites attendees to learn more about the spaces they are visiting and to delve deeper into the story of Christchurch through its architecture.

Additions to the 2023 festival include increased accessibility information, an information desk that will be open for the duration of the festival on the ground floor of Tūranga, and two evening events of quick-fire architecture talks and interviews.

In the lead-up to the festival, Te Pūtahi is looking to recruit volunteers, who are key to the running of this architectural celebration. 

Jessica Halliday, Te Pūtahi Director, says, “Open Christchurch celebrates not just architecture - but the city’s ready sense of connection and our capacity to build relationships. The festival rests on partnerships and the participation of many organisations, businesses and people. Our volunteers are a vital part of making Open Christchurch happen.”

This team of dedicated and energetic people work predominantly in customer facing roles and assist with information giving, leading tours, ensuring the comfort of festival goers. Full training will be given and those who are keen to be involved are encouraged to get in contact and fill out an EOI.

An Open Christchurch 2021 volunteer,  Charles Collins, says “Volunteering as a tour host for Open Christchurch is a rewarding and ultimately enjoyable experience. It is a great opportunity to connect people with place and continue conservations with the wider Ōtautahi community who have a growing interest and appreciation for the value, accessibility, and importance of architecture in our evolving city.”

Festival organisers invite one and all to save the date, 6 & 7 May 2023, and join Open Christchurch for a celebration of the city’s architecture.

Open Christchurch wishes to acknowledge and thank its family of supporters for making the 2023 festival possible: Open Christchurch Champion, Christchurch City Council; Principal Sponsors Gib & NZ Steel; Supporting Sponsors, Resene, The Architectural Roofing Company and Inzide; Event Partner, Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects; Te Pūtahi Core Sponsors, Works and Kendons.

Visit openchch.nz for bookings, which open 24 March, and more information.

Image: Peterborough Housing Cooperative (Craig South, 2020). Photography by Sarah Rowlands