fashionable. industrial. illicit.
The Christchurch earthquakes irrevocably changed the city's iconic High Street precinct: its famous Victorian and Edwardian streetscapes & only recently urbanised laneways were severely damaged & most of the heritage buildings destroyed.
Through a recent collaboration with Heritage New Zealand, you can now relive the heyday (and the seedier side) of Christchurch's High Street in an online multimedia installation. The buildings are gone, but their stories have been unearthed from the rubble.
The Heritage New Zealand approached us to create an online audio archive of High Street, in order to provide a permanent 'collective remembrance' of architectural & social history and an engaging interactive journey for locals and tourists alike.
The original brief was to create a sound map - an geographically integrated interactive that played audio files specific to each location. But as content was researched and gathered it grew to encompass:
Our challenge was to combine all this content in an easily browseable design, showcasing the audio clips as the heroes of the piece while allowing cohesive integration of the visuals & text. As we undertook the UX phase of the project, we quickly realised the idea of pinning content to a map wasn't the best way forward.
Firstly, some buildings had multiple stories from different time periods, making the map pins overlap too much for easy usability – especially for mobile device users, who were the primary audience. And secondly, a map-only design made it difficult to see at a glance what kind of stories were presented.
Instead, we created a fully responsive tiled layout. The tiles use imagery, story titles, and themes (shown via labels and colour-coding), making it easy to see at a glance the kind of content available and to choose stories of interest. Tiles are filterable by theme, and the layout allows unlimited scalability for new stories to be added.
The fully responsive site also works beautifully on the desktop, making it an excellent research tool for social and architectural historians.
The site now stands as a shared remembrance of a key, but often dark, park of the Christchurch story.
Project Developer, NZ Heritage New Zealand
“NV created an immersive experience that perfectly targets our audience.”