Things to do  |  22 Mar 2024

See how a supermarket warehouse was transformed into a Christchurch High School, learn about intergenerational living and housing on ancestral Māori land, and explore Ōtautahi’s love affair with Christchurch Modern houses.

Open Christchurch 2024 celebrates some of Christchurch’s best architecture and special spaces that contribute to Ōtautahi’s sense of place.

The one weekend-only-festival of architectural excellence will take place from 3 – 5 May, presented by Te Pūtahi - Centre for Architecture & City-Making. 

This year’s festival highlights a variety of buildings, landscapes and experiences with a focus on innovative mixed-use and adaptive reuse, and rich residential and recreational offerings that span 160 years. 

The programme will be serving up a chance to get behind the construction site hoardings at The Court Theatre, get up close to the Observatory Hotel at the Arts Centre and university hall of residence College House, and the chance to chat with Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger and Christchurch City Councillors.

Other highlights include culturally, historically and architecturally important buildings that are not widely open to the public, such as the art deco building across from Margaret Mahy - the Former MED Converter and Substation Building, the NZME studio and Rangi Ruru’s Te Koraha.

Open Christchurch is also offering the rare opportunity to head inside the Christ Church Cathedral and hear about the reinstatement project. 

The weekend begins with a lecture at Te Puna Wānaka on the Friday evening from Professor Albert Refiti that considers the history and presence of Pacific architecture within Aotearoa.

The programme continues on Saturday and Sunday, exploring fifty buildings of different ages, styles and uses which will be open for the public to experience for free, apart from a handful of private residences that require a small booking fee. 

Explore the city in different ways, whether it be experiencing Washington Skatepark in full swing, taking guided walks through the award-winning Fonua Mana Tongan Church or discovering the food hub Ōtākaro Orchard.

Buildings are open at different times across the weekend, bookable activities are timetabled and a handful of buildings require advance bookings.

Find more information here.