“The Building Intelligence Group is delighted to have played a role in the bringing back to life of such a rare piece of maritime history as the iconic Lyttelton Timeball Station and the working timeball itself.”
When Project Director Stephen Threadgall from project management specialist The Building Intelligence Group says how fantastic it is to see the Timeball Tower standing tall against the skyline again, he echoes the feelings of many people, not only in Lyttelton, but in Christchurch itself. The 2 November opening of the Timeball Station certainly marked another significant milestone in the rebuild of a city which has lost so much of its heritage.
The Timeball Station is one of the few of its kind left in the world. From 1876 to 1934 a ball dropped from its mast on its stone tower, signalling the time to ships in Lyttelton Harbour. Visual time signals such as this have historically been important features of many of the world’s ports, playing an integral role in correcting ships’ chronometers and ensuring accurate navigation.
The Victorian-era Timeball Station in Lyttelton Harbour was damaged beyond repair in the 22 February 2011 earthquake. “The building’s owner, Heritage New Zealand looked for a project manager with demonstrable experience in the heritage sector to secure a main contractor for the Timeball Station’s rebuild and to manage the programme and the construction phase,” Threadgall says.
“We at The Building Intelligence Group are known for this type of project. Over the past year we have worked with all the companies and professionals involved in the rebuild to complete the Timeball’s reconstruction on time and on budget.” Heritage New Zealand explains that the rebuild philosophy was to retain as much of the original fabric of the building as practicable. “We wanted to ensure that when locals saw the building each day it was familiar. The return of the Timeball Station and Timeball also fits well with the regeneration of Lyttelton that is going on.”
The $2 million reconstruction was on the former site using original materials salvaged from the careful deconstruction that took place following the earthquakes. As Stephen Threadgall says, “heritage projects can have their challenges. So to have the work progress so well to such a superb outcome gave our team immense satisfaction.”
A fine example of Victorian technology, the Timeball Station is one of only five in the world known to be still in working order. A rare piece of maritime history, it has now been fabulously restored and boasts spectacular views over Lyttelton Harbour.
Our work is shaped by our surroundings and office space is vital in business. Often modern offices have a certain sameness – the blandness of a standard corporate look. Sheppard and Rout Architects set about overturning this convention when designing the fit-out for the new ChristchurchNZ offices in the BNZ Centre, a Canterbury regional NZIA awards entrant.
“ChristchurchNZ is the city’s economic development and profile agency charged with stimulating economic activity and attracting visitors to Ōtautahi Christchurch,” Sheppard and Rout Director Jasper van der Lingen says. “It needed to be a warm and friendly space; conducive to the development of ideas, an interesting and people-oriented place and one which would also showcase products from the region. We were working to a tight budget and had to be creative.”
The resulting 1200sqm space is both efficient and stylish with its mix of open plan work areas and break out/meeting rooms. “Flexibility was key, so there are meeting rooms for all different purposes – from the very small for privacy, up to mini conference size. Because visitors come to these rooms we made sure they were sited for the best views of the city and the Port Hills.”
The design also makes use of natural and sustainable materials; timber joinery around the meeting rooms for warmth and carpet tiles made from recycled fish nets echo the natural palette of browns, creams and charcoals, creating a calming mood and effect.
One feature which pushes the boundaries of what can be done with office space is the lack of suspended ceiling. “We simply got rid of it, exposed all the services and painted everything black. It gives a great sense of increased height.”
“Queenstown is a wonderful place to be involved in the construction industry,” says Ben Collins, owner of Bayshore Builders which he set up in 2001. “There is so much variety of work, from residential builds to commercial construction and internal fitouts, as well as civil projects.”
Indeed, Bayshore Builders is skilled in all these aspects of construction, but Ben says the company’s deep passion is architecturally-designed homes. “We pride ourselves on working closely with architects from all over the country who have clients wanting to build in Queenstown. Of the last 11 houses we built here, three were for local residents, but the remainder were holiday homes for people from out of town – even as far away as Sydney.”
What excites Ben and his team of experienced tradies is the quality and the detailed craftsmanship required to build high-end houses. “Clients building this calibre of home have high expectations. It’s our challenge to deliver the best of workmanship and finish and we are not satisfied with anything less. It’s also very important for us to have excellent relationships with the architect and client throughout the build time, which can be anything from 12-18 months because of the size and complexity of the homes.”
Ben says that it takes a special breed of builder to take on these projects. “Not everyone wants to do this kind of work. It can be hard after all because of the need for perfection and total dedication, but I learned about building big houses while on OE in Canada and that ignited an enthusiasm which has never faded.”
Contact Ben on 021 345 256.
As our new city starts to develop and people slowly make their way back into the central city, it will be interesting to see where the winners and the losers of the social scene will be. A bar that just pours beer will simply not make it any more. There need to be other reasons to go to that bar and stay there.
For graphic design and theming company Dream It Ltd, listening to its hospitality clients, consulting fully on ideas and actually delivering the product are the keys to both its success and to the success of the bars it designs and builds.
“I view myself as an imaginologist – but my team and I at Dream It also make what I imagine,” owner Dean Johnstone says.
“We build what we design. We don’t hand it over to someone else to implement and risk compromising the original concept.”
Dean’s imagination is seemingly limitless and not always conventional. “I once designed an in-home movie theatre in the form of a submarine wreckage ‘submerged’ in three-dimensional faux rocks with dramatic effects that can be pre-programmed and controlled.”
It’s this calibre of ability that has made Dean sought after in New Zealand, Australia and even the United States. Experienced Christchurch hospitality owner Max Bremner made sure he secured Dean and his team for the fit-outs of his three bars in The Terrace complex.
“Each bar has its own unique personality. That’s what we do. We took architectural designer John Ayers’ floor plans and added the character and identity. Fat Eddies is a ‘blues’ bar reflecting America in the 1930s and 40s; Kong is an art-deco styled cocktail bar reminiscent of a 1930s movie set where you wouldn’t be surprised to see Humphrey Bogart; Original Sin on the other hand takes those two words and plays on them with ecclesiastical architecture – a serpent, an apple and an Adam and Eve themed mural painted on carved concrete to resemble an old cracked oil painting.
These bars were the first on the new ‘strip’ and have set a high standard. If you are wondering how they are doing, all you have to do is go there any night of the week and see places full of people having a great time.
With the completion of the first new building on the south side of Cashel Mall right in the inner city, another piece of the Christchurch CBD reestablishment jigsaw has been slotted into place.
Cook Brothers Construction is proud to have been the main contractor to carry out the work on such a significant development. The project was just the type of large undertaking that this construction company thrives on with its logistical challenges and strong architectural vision.
The four-storey building comprises 2,000 square metres of commercial and retail space, topped off by a loft style apartment and balcony. A hanging garden in the front of the building is a stand out feature of the project, bringing greenery to the modern façade.
“The building certainly makes a dynamic feature on the Cashel Mall streetscape with its stunning seventeen metre glazed frontage to the mall,” Cook Brothers Construction Project Manager Tony Morley says.
“It’s something of an architectural masterpiece of mixed materials from basalt panels and frameless glass shop fronts to a large living wall of plants giving colour and vibrancy to the modern industrial design. It certainly was an interesting, enjoyable and rewarding build to work on and it was finished on time and to programme.”
The developer Denis Sunderland had a property on the site prior to the earthquakes and had a vision to rebuild there as soon as possible. However, with the requirement for master-planned proposals for the retail precinct it took four years for work to commence. “During the construction process we worked closely with Cequent Projects, the mall operators and the Christchurch City Council to minimise disruption to the surrounding businesses while still keeping on track with the agreed programme on a tight site with limited access,” Tony says.
“All credit is due to the build team on site whose extra efforts achieved this great result.”