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Old Souls


There’s not many ‘old souls’ left standing in the Christchurch central city, which makes the opportunity to showcase any effort to maintain them a good one.

 

Photo: CCC/Newsline

The former Wellington Woollen Mills building at 96 Lichfield Street and the Design and Arts College building at 116 Worcester Street have each received $600,000 toward their multimillion-dollar repairs and refurbishments.

Christchurch City Council staff had recommended $900,000 for each building, but with only $1.2m left in the heritage grant kitty for this year, councillors decided against dipping into next year’s $1.5m budget, instead opting to cap the amount at $600,000 each.

Both properties are classed as ‘Highly Significant’ buildings in the Christchurch District Plan.

Dating back to the 1930s, the former State Insurance building in Worcester Street was designed by renowned architect Cecil Wood, in association with Paul Pascoe.

It has art deco influences and was first used as offices for the State Fire and Accident Insurance Company and for the Lands and Survey and Lands and Deeds Departments.

The building was damaged in the earthquakes but has changed hands since then. The new owners – 116 Worcester Street Ltd – have plans to fully upgrade it and restore this golden oldie’s historic façade, including the original coat of arms. Its new use will be for living and rental accommodation.

The second notable building is the former Wellington Woollen Mills building, a category 1 historic building in Lichfield Street, which dates back to 1920.

It was designed by architect William Gummer, whose firm Gummer and Ford, was responsible for many significant buildings around New Zealand including the Auckland Railway Station and the former National Art Gallery and Museum in Wellington.

Designed in a pared-down classical style, it was one of the first commercial buildings in Christchurch to feature glass curtain walling.

Currently hiding behind scaffolding and mesh, the new funding will be a welcome addition in the process of breathing life back into the building.

The new owners (Wool House Investments Ltd) hope to both repair and upgrade the structure.

The Central City Landmark Heritage Grant Funding Scheme was set up by the council after the earthquakes to help owners retain, repair and strengthen the central city’s remaining historic buildings.

To date, grants of more than $13.5 million have been made to 12 different heritage restoration projects.

The heritage grants for the two buildings have been granted on the condition that full conservation covenants are registered against the property titles.


 

React, Rebuild, Reminisce


Almost a decade has passed since the traumatic events of the 2011 earthquakes. That’s nearly 10 years of trying to get the city back on its feet. Bit by bit, building by building we’re started to rebuild the heart of the Garden City.

 

 

We’ve hunted out all the upcoming developments and cool things happening around town to get you excited about the year to come – we weren’t short of inspiration!


Christchurch Hospital Acute Services Building:

If you haven’t been into the CBD and seen this colossal 10-storey building creeping up in size near the Christchurch Women’s Hospital, then you may need to look again.

This gigantic project has been in construction since 2015 and, as the largest government project in Canterbury coming in at 62,000 square metres, it’s easy to see why this is such a big deal for the city – literally and figuratively! It’s set to throw open its doors later this year.


Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre:

The Convention Centre, scheduled to open in October this year, will provide the facilities we’ve been lacking since its predecessor was demolished in early 2012.

Supported by accommodation, retail, hospitality and public transport, it is set to be world-class and it’s certainly got the look down pat; the braided river façade of the new building is already the talk of the town.

With 43,000 herringbone tiles set to be installed on the building… no wonder it’s popping into conversation here and there.


The South Frame:

This project is in construction stage, with around three quarters of it already now complete.

Ōtākaro Ltd describes the site as “a place for markets, events and celebrations – an area to gather, dine, be entertained or just relax”.

The Greenway will be at the heart of this project, providing an oasis in between the hustle and bustle of city life.


3D interactive visualiser:

With all these new developments, you might be keen to look back on just how much this city has evolved in the few years following the earthquake.

The Christchurch City Council can help you do that with their ‘3D interactive visualiser of the CBD’.

Not only can you view the buildings we lost during the quake, but you can also see the revival and emergence of the new CBD.

It really puts into perspective just how far we’ve come in such a short time.


Canterbury Multi-Use Arena:

Labelled a ‘game-changer’ for the city, the multi-use arena will help Christchurch re-establish itself as New Zealand’s sporting and cultural capital.

The 25,000-seat arena is set to come in at $472 million to build.

A small(ish) price to pay to transform Christchurch into a super-host for major sporting and cultural events.


 

Crafting Homes: Steve Brown Builders


When it comes to building on the hills, only the very best in experience and expertise will do, and that’s where renowned hill builders, Steve Brown Builders come in. Director Steve Brown has been bringing dreams to life in conjunction with leading architects for 30 years.

 

 

“We offer our clients a quality service, we are approachable and personable, with communication as our hallmark, and that has naturally led to our longevity and great reputation,” says Steve. “We are always incredibly proud of our end product, and it’s a favourite moment to hand it to its new owner.”

A stunning project – not on the hills but requiring the ingenuity, craftsmanship and planning of the toughest hill build – was the authentically faithful like-for-like rebuild of a 1913 earthquake-damaged mansion that required complete demolition, much to its owners’ sorrow. Today the two-storey brick and half-timbered home’s extensive ornate plaster ceilings, Italian marble fireplaces, leadlights, and panelling are proudly in place. “We don’t often get to build these and were delighted that the owner opted to rebuild, to illustrate our skills,” says Steve.

Forty-five years’ experience gives Steve a rare depth of knowledge about specialised builds, giving his team a huge advantage. “In those days we did everything without the benefit of the specialist trades that now come in. I like to think that our apprentices gain the ability to do all the work if required, and are highly skilled in most areas when they become qualified,” Steve says.

“You can see the craft in the homes we build.”

 

 


 

NZ’s biggest deconstruction


Remaining in the 72,000sqm of what once was Lancaster Park lies the last of the rubble, and truck-loads of memories.

 

 

Christchurch City Council’s Project Director Lee Butcher says it was overwhelming to see the public queue at the gates for a glimpse of the icon being striped to its bones and brought to the ground.

A new community sports park has been council-approved, with design and construction commencing towards the end of 2020.

A staggering 65,000 tonnes of concrete from the two main stadiums alone has been removed. “We’re on track for our goal of two percent un-recyclable material, and we’re under our budget of $12 million,” Lee says.

For those who worked on the project, it wasn’t just a job, but one respected for its history and what it meant for the people. “As the biggest deconstruction in New Zealand, none of us have anything like this on our CVs, and likely won’t again!”

The main contractors involved were Aecom for environmental controls support, Ceres removed seats and some memorabilia, Aotea services for services removal and decommissioning management, Taggart for soft strip (building strip-out) and Tui Stand demolition, Clearwater Construction for roof removal works, Daniel Smith Industries and Canterbury Cranes for crane supply and rigging staff, Yakka Contracting for main demolition, GE Construction for fencing and gates, and ATF for security and automatic gates.

“Especially with earthquake-damaged buildings there were no guarantees of how anything was going to go. The huge roof with beams of 48 metres long was taken off separately, required months of planning, lots of signs offs, and removal of countless brackets and bolts.

“It’s quite surreal to come to the finale.”

 

 


 

Dr Megan Woods: The Influencers


One of the most exciting projects for the city right now is the Metro Sports Facility and it’s really ramping up, with the first major concrete pour for the site carried out recently.

 

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister

Ōtākaro have poured around 1100m3 of concrete for the foundations of the site. This is the first of around a half a dozen large concrete pours that will create the foundation for the largest sport and recreation venue of its kind in New Zealand. It was great to see to a procession of around 200 truckloads of concrete arriving on site.

The Metro Sports Facility will cover an area about the size of two rugby fields and require around 16,000m3 of concrete and 3700 tonnes of structural steel to build, making it one of the largest projects in central Christchurch.

Once all of the foundations are poured, people travelling along Moorhouse Avenue and St Asaph Street will start seeing the structural steel going up early next year. This is just another of the visible signs of increased momentum in the recovery, with the opening of wonderful new projects like the city library.

This is also great news for the local economy. Over 300 people are expected to be working on the Metro Sports Facility at the height of construction, so it will be a hive of activity before the doors even open to sport and recreation enthusiasts. That’s 300 people with good, high-paying jobs, not to mention the economic boost to the central city once the project is complete.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Iconic building stands strong


In the heart of the new city, overlooking the renewed Ōtākaro Avon River precinct, The Public Trust Building is being restored to its former glory and strengthened for future generations.

 

 

Box 112 is preserving the iconic building which has graced the Canterbury streetscape for almost 95 years. The team at Box 112 is renowned for restoring heritage buildings with all the respect they deserve – the Public Trust Building stands as a fine example. Every historic detail of this landmark has been considered and respected, enhancing the architecture and feel of the Canterbury icon that encapsulates the roaring twenties.

Built in 1925 for the Public Trust, 152 Oxford Terrace was designed by one of Christchurch’s most celebrated architects, Cecil Wood. Wood drew international inspiration for this bold and grand design after a trip to New York during the skyscraper boom of the 1920s.

With such inspiration, it’s not surprising that the building’s entrance is a masterpiece, and will have steps leading into what could easily be the middle of the Manhattan, via its stunning timber revolving door (saved from the original 1919 PGG building) and into the grand 6m high marble lobby. The impressively oversized steel-framed windows, the original steel-caged elevator, cornice detailing and its feature façade – soon to be restored to its original colour – express a timeless architectural masterpiece.

Property developer Box 112 spokesperson James Stringer says, “Christchurch City Council have shown tremendous civic leadership in their joint desire to support these important projects. In a time where they are being called on for funds from many angles, it is deeply encouraging to see them acknowledge the importance of these structures in telling the story of Ōtākaro to the world and to Canterbury’s future generations.”

Awarded in 2017, The Landmark Heritage Grant of $1.9m enabled immediate strengthening works and protection of key heritage features to be undertaken. The building’s strengthening project is now complete. Box 112 has now commenced the second stage of construction, involving the carpentry, fit-out and aesthetic refurbishment. Completion and the opening are scheduled for early 2020.

“We want the people of Christchurch to have a chance to appreciate the beauty of this historic building,” James says.

The Public Trust Building was designed to portray strength and stability to the people of Christchurch. At the time of its original completion, almost 100 years ago, another local and celebrated architect Hurst Seager said of its design “it strikes a new note in Christchurch”. It’s seemingly fitting, and the same can be said of the city’s icon, entering the new ‘20s – almost a century on.

Vibrant hospitality and professional services are set make this iconic site home. Francesca Voza will bring the basement to life with a Rome-inspired jazz and cocktail bar, adorned with the original 1920s safety deposit boxes. Professional recruitment firm Graham Consulting and award-winning strategic advertising and brand agency Novo will both have headquarters here.

And for the cherry on the top, a world-class tapas bar created by Jeremy Stevens will overlook the city – ensuring the building is one for the public to call their own.

 

 


 

John O’Hagan: The Influencers


While it’s a scenic part of the city, the riverside section of Oxford Terrace between Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, known as the Avon Loop, also currently features a mix of overgrown plants and broken asphalt as a result of the earthquakes. So, we are looking forward to getting work underway in the area later this year to make this section of Oxford Terrace a safer and more pleasant place to be.

Ōtākaro Limited General Manager Development

A smooth pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, boardwalk, canoe/kayak ramp, native planting and new lighting will be incorporated into the area, along with some car parking.

The Loop will also be the pedestrian/cycling connection between our recently completed work on the City Promenade and any future developments in the Residential Red Zone.

Most of the homes in the Avon Loop were removed a long time ago but we know that many former residents are still passionate about the area. While we are not carrying out any work on the former residential land, everyone agrees this project is an important step in revitalising this part of the city.

It will enable and encourage people to come back to the area by creating an easy to follow route from the Avon Loop to other key city features like the Margaret Mahy Family Playground, Victoria Square, Te Pae, The Terraces and the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

We are currently evaluating tenders for the construction work and look forward to keeping you updated on our progress throughout the project, which we expect to have completed early in 2020.

 

 

 

 


 

Salvaging a local landmark: The Pump House


The restoration of the historic Pump House on Tuam Street is complete, after an extensive two-year repair and earthquake strengthening project – salvaging a unique link to our city’s heritage.

 

 

Originally built more than 100 years ago in the 1880s, the Pump House is a collection of five buildings that once served as Christchurch’s purpose-built sewerage system. By the end of the 1950s, the plant was no longer used and in the late 1980s, City Salvage Contractors co-owner Paddy Snowden and his wife Jackie bought the property to use as a demolition yard.

The Pump House is a local landmark. Set amongst a spacious yard filled with various items saved from demolition, or bits and pieces Paddy has purchased and collected over the years – from hand-painted stained-glass windows and old movie props to salvaged timber, iron gates and church pews – the picturesque buildings have also been used for a fashion shoot and a wedding photo backdrop.

 

 

Featuring brick and Oamaru stone construction, attractive arched windows and gables with round windows, the buildings have a distinctive charisma. Remarkably, they stood up to the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes, but were no longer safe. While the stonework had slowly deteriorated over the years, it wasn’t until the repair began that it became clear how much other serious maintenance was required.

Once the earthquake strengthening plan – designed by CGW Consulting Engineers – was finalised and the tender let, the work began in earnest, in late 2017. Each building needed an individual approach, including foundation re-enforcement, core drilling, crack stitching and rebuilding of gables. Three of the buildings needed total roof replacements and a completely new timber ceiling was installed in one of them.

 

 

In addition, crumbling stonework was replaced and extensive plaster finishing applied. Internal walls with mismatched, patchy paintwork cleaned up beautifully with media blasting. The multipaned metal windows throughout the buildings were painstakingly stripped and painted. Downpipes and rainheads, salvaged from the former Sunnyside Hospital 25 years ago, were used to replace the deteriorated or missing ones.

While in keeping with the industrial design, Paddy, who has a passion for old buildings, incorporated historic detail and character where he could, such as antique rosebricks and handrails. In addition to their own investment in the project, Paddy and Jackie are grateful for grants from Christchurch City Council and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. “Much more work was needed than was originally budgeted for, so we wouldn’t have been able to complete this without them.”

 

 

Now that the five buildings have been fully earthquake strengthened, they have fantastic potential for future use – perhaps a functions venue, a gallery, workshops or offices – who knows? Jackie says the project has been a huge learning curve. “As well as being an important link to our past, we hope the buildings will remain a unique part of the cityscape for many years to come. We are so pleased to have played a part in their story.”

 

 

 


 

Strengthening is their priority: Priority Projects


Work to strengthen Walker Court, the retail outlet at 75 Blenheim Road, is well underway and on target for completion by the end of November.

 

 

Canterbury fit-out, design-build and project management company, Priority Projects, is completing the earthquake strengthening and renovations at the site that is home to Burnsco and Paramount Pools.

Made up of four units, across single and double levels, the retail showrooms and storage buildings are getting the full treatment, as they upgrade to 100 percent of the NBS code. This includes substantial new structural steel, upgrade of accessible facilities, new roof and fire protection systems.

While work started on site mid-May, the Priority team, made up of Director Steve Brownie and Project Manager Kim Lowry, have been working on the scope, plans and consent documentation for the past 18 months. It’s been a big job, with the added challenge of working around tenants to make sure they remain operational at all times.

Priority Projects has undertaken some major ‘concept to completion’ strengthening work since the Canterbury earthquakes, namely, Go Bus & Flip Out headquarters at 230 Maces Road, Chester Street Apartments, Harcourts Division Street, Riccarton, and significant residential rebuilds for existing clients.

Since 2009, Steve and the team have been offering comprehensive project management of commercial fit-outs, design-builds, feasibility studies, earthquake repairs, rebuilds and new construction projects, that stick to the core values of priority service, quality, value and results.

For more information, visit www.priorityprojects.co.nz or email info@priorityprojects.co.nz

 


 

A beautiful reincarnation: DPA Architects


A meticulous weaving of historic fabrics with modern structural elements was used for the restoration of the Rose Chapel – a beautiful reincarnation of the quake-damaged heritage building.

 

 

Standing on Colombo Street for more than a century, the locally treasured chapel reopened almost a year ago. DPA Architects was recognised for its work on the complex repair at the local NZIA Awards this month, winning the Canterbury Architecture Award in the Heritage category. The accolade follows a gold award, value award and national award for Heritage/Restoration at the 2019 Commercial Project Awards in May.

The Rose Chapel restoration was completed with Higgs Construction. Dave Pearson of DPA Architects says he enjoyed working in collaboration with individual contractors on the unique on-site challenges. “The successful restoration relied on the input of skilled craftsman and trades working together to deliver an exemplary result.”

Just three days before its 100th birthday celebrations, the chapel was severely damaged by the February 2011 earthquake. The rose window and roof had collapsed, leaving a gaping hole in the main facade. The complex restoration project involved reinstating fallen masonry, replacing structural brick walls with concrete versions, strengthening the roof and foundations, as well as piecing together and reinstalling the shattered windows. The salvaged slate was re-laid and intricate stonemasonry carried out by New Zealand’s leading heritage stonemasonry company, Goldfield Stone.

 

Other work included re-plastering the internal surfaces, reforming all the arches by hand and reinstating the plaster details. The internal walls were repainted, timber work re-stained, tiled floor reinstated, and new lighting installed. The spiral staircase was badly damaged, but a near identical spiral staircase was salvaged from the demolished Regent Theatre and installed in its place. Both buildings were originally designed by the Luttrell brothers, so it was decided that the staircase could be installed without any loss of authenticity. After more than two years of careful restoration, the Rose Historic Chapel was officially reopened.

DPA Architects is committed to preserving New Zealand’s built heritage, providing the highest possible standards of architectural services for its clients. One of New Zealand’s foremost architectural practices, it is committed to seeing some of New Zealand’s more humble buildings preserved. The company has developed a high level of technical expertise through involvement with a large number of projects, ranging from large commercial projects to small domestic alterations.