Smash Palace Bar, Christchurch


John Gibbons Family Trust

Faced with the loss of their Christchurch inner city bar complex as a result of the 2010—2011 earthquakes, the bar owners sought a temporary replacement to cater for their eclectic market.

Read More

With limited availability of appropriate sites, short leases and a very tight budget, Common Ground conceived a “living stage” concept – using scaffolding as a building-site frame for all other components. This allowed utilities to be exposed as features and the addition of ancillary structures (including kitchen and motorbike workshop) added over time without disrupting trade as cashflow allowed.


The design was as eclectic as the market, providing a very open and welcoming socialising space. The informality of the space and inclusiveness of the operations led to great success over the 4 years it ran – and was one of the catalysts for regenerating the wider area.

  • Concept Design
  • Architecture
  • Planning

Project Value:

$NZ 120,000

Value of Services Provided:

$NZ 14,000


Added Value:

  • Integrated design and development service
  • Ability to rapidly adapt to major project issues
  • High level of commitment over an extended period of time with multiple stakeholders
  • Low budget / temporary bar
  • Accommodated / provided for the full range of catering functions
  • Facilitated incremental growth and improvements over time
  • Meet or exceeded all the clients financial and market objectives
  • Positive contribution to wider area regeneration