The Northwood subdivision is one of the largest ever attempted in Canterbury, with almost 700 lots developed over seven stages. The 90 hectare development located west of the Main North Road is about 15 a minute drive from central Christchurch. Northwood’s positioning between two state highways and boundaries against unzoned rural and reserve land proved challenging. It took over five years to develop following a master plan which introduced principles of urban design new to Canterbury. Adjustments were made to the master plan as demand changed and the project progressed. DO provided planning, engineering and surveying services; the engineering design work on this project demonstrating the latest innovations in managing storm-water using swales and retention basins within the subdivision. We also designed a water supply network and sewage pumping station for the subdivision.
Northwood did not have to comply with existing urban characteristics. It is intended to create its own environment by use of sculptural features on the roundabouts in the main thoroughfare and the use of details such as coloured concrete walkways, arches and other structures on key pedestrian routes and reserve enhances. It also incorporates the natural environment through swales and storm water ponds, and responds to its history as an orchard by soft landscaping and the retention of significant peripheral plantings.
The result is a coherent and functional development of spaces, streets and areas conceived to relate to each other, the adjacent retail area highways and reserves as well as the city. Of particular interest is the marked diversity of type and site size of housing which includes terraced housing, retirement villas, detached medium-density housing and larger lots.
DO was instrumental in taking concepts through to practical reality without losing sight of the core principles and design features of the land. In 2001 DO was awarded an NZIS Award of Merit for the outstanding quality of this subdivision.