The Youth Hub Christchurch
A new complex to support and empower rangatahi
All young people require support from time to time, and in Aotearoa, one in 10 face severe adversity in many aspects of their lives including health, education, employment and housing. On top of everyday challenges, Christchurch’s rangatahi have endured the 2010-11 earthquakes, 2019 mosque shootings and the COVID-19 pandemic. These events are hard on everyone but are often crippling for young people already suffering adversity.
The Youth Hub Christchurch aims to break this cycle of adversity for local young people aged 10-25. Based in the heart of central Christchurch, The Youth Hub Christchurch will be the first of its kind in Aotearoa, connecting socially supportive organisations under one roof to deliver a holistic one-stop model of wrap-around services including: mental health, medical, education, employment, transitional housing, recreation, creativity, and social entrepreneurship. It will do this in a youth-centric and accessible environment where young people feel accepted and supported as they develop into adults with respect to their ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and gender.
Collaborative design process
Field Studio and The Youth Hub Trust have centred the needs and opinions of youth throughout the design process, running interviews, workshops and design hui with rangatahi from Christchurch Youth Council, Te Puna Wai, 298 Youth Health, Pacific Youth Leadership & Transformational Council, St Andrew’s College Diversity Group, Avonside Girls High School and Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi. The information gathered, along with other stakeholder information, has formed the guiding design principles and brief for the hub, and consultation is ongoing to ensure that the hub design is meeting the needs of the young people that it is for.
Lay of the land
The design carefully fits into its local surroundings. The Gracefield Avenue residential neighbourhood, with a mixture of homes and apartments, provides a high amenity setting for the housing aspects of The Youth Hub. Fronting Salisbury Street is the main entry to The Youth Hub, with a prominent Manaaki entrance along with a smaller art gallery. The buildings are broken up in scale and the hub has substantial landscaped and planted external courtyards, especially along the internal boundaries, in keeping with the greenery of the setting.
The arts and recreation spaces form the vibrant heart of the site, with events, workshops, indoor recreation, a cafe and outdoor courtyard spaces. Further into the site are the wrap-around services, with health services, offices and workshop rooms, connected with a central atrium space and terraces.
Apartments are positioned on the Gracefield Ave street frontage to allow some autonomy from the hub and to contribute to the residential character of this street, while supported housing is tucked away, furthest from the streets, offering a private sanctuary for the more vulnerable youth living there.
Rooftop greenhouses operated by Cultivate Christchurch cover most of the main central building, along with associated roof terraces. Cultivate is a youth-focused organisation which combines farming with youth development and community engagement. The gardens turn the roof into an interesting space and feature for the youth hub, most visible from the main entrance on Salisbury Street.
Field Studio core design team: Amiria Kiddle, Andrew Just, Jonny Knopp, Kate McDougall, Oliver Latimer
Organisations: 298 Youth Health, Christchurch Methodist Mission, Youthline, Catapult, , The Collaborative Trust, Qtopia, Community Law, City Mission, Shakti, Te Kura, People First, Nurse Maude, Voyce, Youthtown
Consultant team: Matapopore, Youth Hub Trust Chair Dame Sue Bagshaw, Powell Fenwick engineers, Pederson Read electrical engineers, Rhodes and Associates quantity surveyors, Altissimo environmental consulting, Noel Strez Architects, One Four, Lewis Bradford structural engineers