2014’s Labour weekend (24th-27th October), will see Christchurch host its third annual FESTA- Festival of Transitional Architecture. This year’s theme- “The Future Will Be Live”. A few of our Christchurch S&T staff and their peers have joined forces with the head Chef at Shop Eight, Alex Davies, to create a Zero Impact Restaurant to be located within Agropolis Urban Farm.

The restaurant will look to the past for a response to "The Future Will Be Live". There is an idea that the future of cooking and eating is coming full circle with the past- that primitive instincts can make for local, ethical and simply nutritious food. That in the future this type of consumption can promote itself beyond a trend and really begin to resonate with people. 

To shed light on this belief, each of the three nights of the festival thirty guests will enjoy food foraged that day and prepared with limited resources on site. During the day a group of volunteers will bike to local gardens, parks, parking lots and wherever necessary to collect ingredients for the evening’s feast.

The goals for the design of the restaurant space are to allow for adaptable and organic growth, reveal the production and consumption of materials and the spaces they create and to illustrate the beauty and efficiency of simple design. Firstly, adaptability will allow for the restaurant to transform into an informal cooking, eating and meeting space for Agropolis Urban Farm once FESTA has wrapped up. Second, the use of locally available materials will reduce impact and mirror the ethos of the restaurant. Thirdly, accessibility; meaning a transparent process and simple design will serve to encourage a wider movement toward resourceful design and lighter environmental impact.

With these objectives the team has begun the design process with the cooking bench as a fixed point at the centre of an eating area that will fluctuate with time and use. Through a local initiative called Whole House Reuse, they have secured materials foraged from a red-zoned house through a successful design proposal. This design process and the resultant kitchen bench will be explained in a subsequent article.

The design of the surrounding eating area and shelter is scheduled to develop over the coming months in unison with the sourcing of local materials. Stay posted for updates on the design, construction and use of the restaurant along with discussion on ephemeral architecture and its role in rebuilding a city.

FESTA Director Jessica Halliday says that she has been impressed by the commitment and creativity of the whole team, "through the conceptual rigour of their thinking and design process the architecture graduates working on the Zero Impact Restaurant have produced elegant, sustainable and practical designs. We're thrilled that FESTA can provide a platform for young designers to experiment, collaborate with new partners and demonstrate their ideas for addressing some of the demands and challenges of the twenty-first century."

FESTA is a free public event governed and run by a registered charitable trust (the Christchurch Transitional Architecture Trust). To donate to FESTA please visit their GiveALittle page where you can easily donate to support FESTA.