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New lease on life: Box 112

Work to strengthen and refurbish the grand Public Trust Building is well under way, signalling another step forward in Christchurch’s steady redevelopment.



First completed in 1925 for the Public Trust, the iconic 152 Oxford Terrace landmark was designed by one of Christchurch’s most celebrated architects, Cecil Wood, who is also well known for the ex-State Insurance building on Worcester Boulevard, and the Christ’s College Dining Hall.

Now, investment company, Box 112, is working hard to return the site to its former glory, with major plans in the works that feature a cocktail bar, retail and hospitality premises, along with premium office areas. Meanwhile, strengthening work is being completed by Ruamoko Solutions, which aims to introduce modern facilities and infrastructure that retain the authenticity and style of the original building.

A glimpse inside this stunning space reveals a grand entrance with marble lobby, glass and steel frame elevator and exquisite stairwell. The ground floor – which has a high value hospitality space available – has 6m high ceilings, large north facing windows and stunning authentic character features. The office levels above have been leased by top tier professional services firms and a suite of smaller serviced offices.



James Stringer, of Box 112, says all spaces have heritage features and high-quality finishes that leverage off the authenticity of the building. The top floor features a rooftop bar and the basement will house a speakeasy cocktail bar with the building’s original 1920’s safety deposit boxes.

“Since 1925, this building has been a Christchurch landmark,” he says. “We’re honoured to be able to restore and preserve this important icon for future generations. Its stunning heritage features and authenticity, along with its position overlooking the Avon River, provide businesses and their customers with a truly exceptional environment.”

Julian Ramsay, Managing Director of consulting structural engineers Ruamoko Solutions, says the Public Trust Building project involved earthquake strengthening of the iconic building to a minimum of 80% NBS. “Ruamoko had previously completed seismic strengthening work on this building in 2008 to achieve 33%NBS, which performed very well and ultimately prevented the collapse of this building in the Canterbury earthquakes,” he explains.

“Commissioned in 2018 to provide seismic strengthening to 67%NBS, Ruamoko performed a sophisticated non-linear time history analysis which provided more surety around performance of the 67% scheme. With minor modifications, our analysis resulted in an increase of the buildings strength to 80%NBS, which will allow the building to continue to remain an important part of the built environment in Christchurch.”

Other important contributors to this redevelopment project have been T&A Construction and Dean Cowell at Three Sixty Architecture. The Christchurch City Council has also been instrumental in this project through its landmark heritage grant and the support provided through its experienced and knowledgeable heritage team, led by Brendan Smyth.

With work well under way, Christchurch can once again look forward to the return of a well-known and remembered landmark.


Striking the environmental balance

Humankind has long been plagued by the ‘nature nurture’ debate, but in our small, rural country in the bottom of the South Pacific, our farmers have long been the nurturers of nature, turning their talented hands to the plight of provision not just in New Zealand, but on a global scale.



Yet as we increasingly seek sustainability across all facets of modern day life, the spotlight has been increasingly shining on our farmers for their role in this drive. Speaking of shining, today’s primary sector is certainly populated with plenty of examples of those who are not only seeking to strike a balance between environmental and economic sustainability, but are winning.

Case in point: Duncan and Tina Mackintosh. The owners and operators of White Rock Mains, they were announced as the Regional Supreme Winner of last month’s 2019 Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards, run by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, for their determination and hard work, particularly in regard to helping their environment prosper.

While the couple recently established a 91ha QEII covenant on-farm which clearly demonstrates their dedication to the environment, it was their strong community spirit and their involvement with many social initiatives which impressed judges the most. The family’s local school, North Loburn, is just one of the beneficiaries of their generosity of spirit through the Garden to Table programme Tina is integrally involved with.

An enviro-school with gold status, North Loburn loves the programme, which starts with growing produce, and runs right through to picking, cooking and eating what is grown, together. Tina is passionately advocating for the inclusion of meat to teach kids about where it comes from and its nutritional benefits.

Another initiative dear to the couple’s hearts is the Shear-A-Thon they devised to aid in suicide prevention. The 24-hour shearing challenge saw $45,000 raised by the local community, with $10,000 donated to four different organisations playing essential roles in mental health and wellbeing.

“It is a good opportunity to get a feel for where we are sitting – we’re open to ideas and being challenged,” Duncan says of their achievements. “While the environmental side of things is important, the awards are not just looking at the environmental footprint of the farm – it’s the whole system, so there’s that much more to what you can learn from the judges.”

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards champion sustainable farming and growing through an awards programme which sees one Regional Supreme Winner selected from each of the 11 regions involved. These Regional Supreme Winners will be profiled at the Awards’ National Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton, on Thursday 6 June, with each in the running for the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.


Constructing Commercial Excellence

Across New Zealand companies are shifting the construction goalpost as quality becomes an increasing focus for projects and we’re seeing this in the level of commercial developments that are coming to fruition throughout the country.


Oxford Terrace Baptist Church – Contract Construction


More than 80 of these commercial building projects are vying to win the title of the 2019 Supreme Commercial Project of the Year, at the 2019 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards next month. These prestigious awards run by the Registered Master Builders Association (RMBA) set the benchmark for commercial construction in New Zealand. The 2019 winners will be announced at a national gala event on 17 May at Sky City.

The awards have been designed to recognise and celebrate the contribution and collaboration of the professionals that work on commercial building projects – big or small – from architects, engineers and project managers to quantity surveyors and the construction companies, according to Registered Master Builders Chief Executive David Kelly. “The commercial sector is facing enormous challenges at the moment and this competition rewards the true partnership of all parties involved in the commercial construction process,” he says.


Rangiora RSA Club – RPC Construction LTD

The 2019 entrants include a diverse range of projects from all over New Zealand. These include the transformation of The Old Stone House, originally built by Sir John Cracroft Wilson on his Christchurch estate in 1870-71, the expansion of the Wellington Hospital ICU and the creation of a world-class dairy barn system in Gordonton.

The 2019 categories include the Construction Marketing Services Education Project, CARTERS Commercial Project, PlaceMakers Tourism and Leisure Project, Altus Health Project, Winstone Wallboards Residential Project, Resene Commercial Fit Out Project, Heritage/Restoration Project, Retail Project, Civic Project and the Industrial Project.


Christchurch Girls’ High School – RDT Pacific

There are also four value-based awards and the potential for a Special Award for any outstanding project worthy of recognition. This year, Registered Master Builders introduced two new special awards – the Sustainability Award recognises the relationship our man-made buildings have with the environment, and the Innovation Award recognises that transformation is happening in our sector be it process, design, construction materials or technology.

The highest accolade of the Awards – the Platinum Award – is given to an entrant who has won five or more national titles. This can only be awarded to an organisation once. For more information, visit


A vibrant new home: Mark O’Loughlin

The central city is exciting, alive and vibrant. In my opinion, there are several factors and benefits buyers should consider if they are thinking about living in the CBD.



As homeowners are downsizing, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a vibrant inner-city. Living in a townhouse or apartment in the central city allows owners or tenants the benefit of a small footprint and low maintenance options with easy access to local services and amenities. The simplicity of central city living cannot be underestimated, having cafés, restaurants, entertainment, art and culture, music and great bars right on your doorstep. In 2018 there were seventeen events in Hagley Park. The soon to open Convention Centre, the Metro Sports Facility, the recent opening of the Town Hall and other city projects will only make living in the CBD more exciting.

Another aspect of living in the inner city is a growing community spirit. There is a swing back to knowing your neighbour and a sense of looking after each other, especially for those in multi-unit buildings. This fosters a sense of security, safety and feel-good factor. We’ve had strong sales in the city over the last two months, with one-bedroom apartments from $330K to executive three and four bedroom dwellings up to $2m, from first-home buyers and families to professionals and investors. We have three only left at 17 Salisbury Street, a lovely two-bed two-bath townhouse for $680,000. I have a free inner-city booklet with the current new build properties plus pending projects.

Email to receive a copy or text me on 021 339 078.


By Harcourts Gold Consultant Mark O’Loughlin



A Colourful Crusade

Colour is a complex phenomenon and theories about its effect on our minds and emotions range across the scientific and artistic realms. On the other hand, all it takes is a paintbrush and a pot of fresh paint to understand the powerful ability of colour to dramatically transform a space.




Which makes the Dulux Colour Awards one of the pinnacle events of the year, showcasing both the latest trends in colour and just what is possible in the realm of colour. A record-breaking 435 projects from New Zealand and Australian design professionals were entered in this year’s awards, with 114 finalists who displayed exceptional and inventive use of colour in built environments across both commercial and residential spaces making the final cut. Finalists were chosen across six categories: Commercial Interior: Public and Hospitality; Commercial Interior: Workplace and Retail; Commercial and Multi-Residential Exterior; Residential Interior; Single Residential Exterior; and Student.

Locally, the Rangiora RSA by Andrea Robertson Design is a finalist for the Commercial and Multi Residential Exterior, along with seven other New Zealand projects. “Architects and designers have really set a new precedent with their masterful and innovative employment of colour to create unexpected, lively, playful and refined interior and exterior spaces,” Dulux Colour Specialist Davina Harper says. Moody reds and maroon have emerged as dominant colours in retail and commercial interiors, paired with unexpected tones such as peach and clay in the form of accent walls, stairwells, doors and trims. Deep shades of blue were a popular choice in residential interiors – from azure through to dark navy – seen in cabinetry and trims through to feature walls.

Meanwhile, greens ranging from soft sage to emerald have lost none of their appeal adding sophistication, character and a sense of quiet luxury.“ There has been a shift away from greys and cooler neutrals which have dominated interiors in previous years, with nature-based warm hues, such as beiges, terracotta and caramels coming to the fore,” Davina says. “Classic all black and all white remains popular, particularly in residential exteriors – they are shades being used to contrast against red brick or being layered to create a modern textured and tonal look.“We were also impressed with this year’s student entries, which delivered brave and unique colour concepts and applications.”

The 33rd Dulux Colour Awards finalists will now be judged by a panel of leading figures in the design industry, with all category winners (excluding the Student category and Australian entrants), having the chance of taking home the New Zealand Grand Prix title and NZD $5,000. Australian entrants will have the chance of taking home the Australian Grand Prix title and AUS $5,000.Winners of the 33rd Dulux Colour Awards will be announced at a gala event at the National Gallery of Victoria on 8 May 2019.

For more information on the Dulux Colour Awards, visit


What’s in the building?

In early 2016, Peter Marshall of architectural firm Warren and Mahoney wrote, in ArchitectureNow, that “the new Christchurch will be an overlay of the new upon the old – one that preserves heritage while embracing modernity. The result will be a 21st-century ‘garden city’ that provides a new way of working and living in a city within a contemporary and vibrant environment.”




Three years later that modernity is upon us and Christchurch denizens are indeed embracing it. Take a stroll around the central city and view some of the beautiful examples of the architecture dotting the Christchurch cityscape – the Deloitte Building, Tūranga, The Terrace, EntX, the bus interchange. With still a few significant anchor projects to be completed, notably the convention centre and sports facility, the CBD is a proverbial beehive of construction activity. What will eventually be a key feature on the border of the South Frame is Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery school. After being displaced by the earthquakes, the school – two inner-city schools which merged post-earthquake but have remained on separate campuses in Halswell and Ilam – will return to the new city campus near the Colombo corner of St Asaph Street. With the city as their resource – library, museum, arts precinct – and playground – Margaret Mahy, Botanic Gardens – this fantastic new building will reflect the school’s unique approach to learning. “Our new building allows us the chance to work as we did before the earthquakes in 2011. We will be able to use the city as our resource more effectively,” says Director Steven Mustor.




Leaving the campuses that have been their home for eight years will bring mixed emotions, but Mustor believes that “for most students, parents, and staff, there is great excitement about the possibilities our new facility and location can bring.” Students are set to take back the town in term two. Conveniently, perhaps most for parents doing the school run, right next to the school is The Yard, a series of boutique eateries, plus retail and office space. With more set to open, already operating are J-Bings (Chinese), Mokoji (Korean), Ceylon Kitchen (Sri Lankan) and Maison de Crepes. A repurposed 1950s printing hall, the exposed wood, brick, steel and concrete make for a cosy environment in which to relax, eat and meet. “Buildings,” Peter Marshall also wrote, “will have street frontages as well as communal outdoor space.”

Ao Tawhiti and The Yard, and the south sides of EntX and the Justice Precinct, overlook Matai Common, a communal ‘gathering space’ on Mollett Street that includes seating, kai tables, cycle stands, native plants and trees, a story board, and a special “rain poem” stencilled into the laneway that is revealed only when the area is wet. With these significant projects nearing completion, as well as a host of residential developments, both completed and planned, in the East Frame and elsewhere, the CBD certainly is providing a new way to work and live.