24 Mar 2023

A temporary makeover of a large vacant site in the central city has now been unveiled.

The temporary youth space on St Asaph Street, includes a half basketball court, six giant spray cans, new murals and seating which have transformed a potholed carpark into a vibrant setting for physical activity and creativity. 

The Council’s Enliven Places Programme delivered the project in partnership with Watch This Space and Environment Canterbury (ECan), who recently purchased the large site adjacent to their office.

ECan Asset Services Manager Karen Bartlett says the success of the project is due to the Council and ECan working closely together to achieve the same outcome. “We wanted the site to be inviting, vibrant and open to the public.” 

Christchurch City Council Head of City Growth and Property Bruce Rendall says it’s great to see the site come together. 

“This project introduces a new dynamic area in the City Centre. It’s a great example of transforming a vacant site into active, temporary use while awaiting future permanent development.” 

At the eastern end of the site, artist Nick Lowry’s striking mural transforms a substation wall with bright native bird and plant life.

“Artists Nick Lowry and Dr Suits were selected to create the murals. Lowry’s work aligns with Environment Canterbury’s values and strategy,” Ms Bartlett says.

Dr Suits’ mural will heighten any game of basketball – with vibrant geometric blocks of colour transforming the court. Life in Vacant Spaces helped broker the site. 

An opening celebration will be held for the unveiling of  the St Asaph Street site, co-hosted by Watch This Space and Youth and Cultural Development Christchurch. All are welcome at 207 St Asaph Street, Sunday 26 March, 12-3pm for a sausage sizzle, basketball competition, street art workshop, hair braiding, barbers, prizes and more.

Gobo Trail - Antarctic, Dcypher

Alongside the St Asaph Street site, the Enliven Places Programme has rolled out a street art-themed light trail. Nine original works by local street artists Wongi, Dcypher, Yikes, Jen Head, Ghostcat and Ikarus form a ‘Gobo’ projector light trail and “treasure hunt” in the Central City. 

Mr Rendall says this work celebrates our identity through arts and adds vibrancy and engagement in the evenings. “It’s a chance to connect street art to lighting amenity across the Central City.  We’re encouraging pedestrians to explore various Gobo displays and see if they can identify which mural each one relates to.” 

Street Art Treasure Hunt - The Central City Gobo Trail is live; a map can be found here.