The Retro Sports Facility activates the green space at The Commons (cnr Kilmore and Durham Streets). It features sporting equipment that’s available to the public to use daily and regular retro themed sporting events, as suggested by you, facilitated by Gap Filler and others like: dodge ball, sack races, croquet and more.

The name and intention of this project is rooted in the politics and the everyday experience of living in Christchurch. The name – The Retro Sports Facility – refers to the CCDU/CERA Anchor project for the rebuilt city, the Metro Sports Facility, which will be constructed in the next few years. Cantabrians are passionate about sport; it brings communities together. But in Christchurch at present, sport is a political issue. There are debates around the CCDU’s proposed covered-stadium and the loss or closure of facilities such as QEII, Centennial Pool and suburban pools.

It often seems that art and sport are seen as oppositional in Christchurch. The Retro Sports Facility seeks to make sport more creative and art more athletic and takes inspiration from David Cross’ inflatable Level Playing Field/Powerslide project as part of the SCAPE Biennial of Public Art in 2013 .

We’re seeking ideas for sports of a ‘retro’ persuasion that can be played here. They could be from people’s childhood or from long ago. Ideas that we’ve had suggested so far include jousting, sack races, Old Boys Netball and tag. The Summer season has been busy, with the International French Cricket World Cup, Physical Fridays and The Commons v The World Frisbee Challenge.  We want to continue some of these sporting events as well as create new ones taking us into the Autumn.  We welcome your suggestions as well as having sporting equipment available here each day for public use.

The Commons has gone through a range of changes following the deconstruction of the Pallet Pavilion. We are (re)creating a space to bring communities together in the city in a fun and inclusive way. Gap Filler is the site facilitator, overseeing a range of activities led by others such as a Food Collective, the Makercrate (maker space), the Arcades Project, Greening the Rubble (a plant exchange is coming soon), two work spaces, and community events. We also use the site for our own Gap Filler projects,  like the Retro Sports Facility.

If you’d like to suggest your favourite RETRO sport, please email or get in touch via Facebook/Gap Filler. It could be from your childhood, from the 1920s, from other cultures, the Roman Empire…? Get creative!

We’re interested to hear from people who would be keen to run their own sporting events/games in-line with the RETRO theme on the green space, too.

Project Background
In 2013, the Minister for Earthquake Recovery publicly stated that Canterbury could become the sporting capital of New Zealand in reference to rowing and cricketing facilities being proposed for the city. In 2012, CERA was responsible for the incredible feat of constructing an 18,000-seat temporary stadium in just 100 days. This stadium, located in the suburb of Addington, was to provide a home for the Crusaders rugby team primarily as well as for other sporting events such as soccer.  This feat was made possible by the extraordinary emergency powers in the CER Act. Lack of sport in Christchurch is an emergency it would seem. Meanwhile, the Christchurch Art Gallery has been closed since February 22, 2011 and will not open again until 2015. As yet, no temporary facility has been created for the gallery, which has enterprisingly made do with a range of short-term venues in buildings and new innovative structures (Art Box).  In a city where art and sport are often seen as oppositional, the Retro Sports Facility seeks to make sport more creative and art more athletic. This project takes inspiration from David Cross’ POWERSLIDE project as part of the SCAPE Biennial in 2013.

In July, Gap Filler with Alejandro Haiek-Coll ran a one-day experiment that fed the development of the Grandstandium project. Read more here.

A pop-up grandstand

Download the media release for this project here: RetroSports_MR_FINAL