There are positive signs of rejuvenation in the Christchurch Central Business District, despite 600 more buildings needing to be demolished. The Red Zone (the area cordoned off to the public) has been shrinking. One thousand buildings have been demolished since a 6.3 earthquake in February 2011 left a trail of destruction. The Canterbury Museum and Red Bus Company jointly run a bus tour of the CBD, but pleasingly, many of the buildings seen through the bus windows are now outside the Red Zone. These photos were taken during a bus tour, and a walkabout, on Friday 16 November 2012.
Victoria Square was opened for the first time today. It looks sparkling with fresh landscaping and paving.
Just across the Avon River from Victoria Square is the Christchurch Town Hall, which has been closed since the earthquake. It is unkempt but still retains a hint of its former glory. Its future is undecided, it could be fully or partially demolished.
New Regent Street is a well known part of central Christchurch , with its Spanish style architecture often being admired from the tram, which used to pass through the street. Though joined together, the 38 shops are individually owned, and this proved to be a stumbling block for the rebuild. However the ground floor facades are being taken down and rebuilt, and it is hoped that in the future shoppers and visitors can walk down the street and see it in its pre earthquake glory.
115 people died in the collapse of the CTV building.
Formerly 13 storeys high with 149 rooms and conference facilities for 400 people, it was refurbished at a cost of $2.5 million in 2009. It is being demolished by Twinkle Toes, the largest high-reach excavator in the Southern Hemisphere. The loss of these hotel rooms and many other large hotels has caused an accommodation shortage in Christchurch.
185 white chairs have been placed on the site of the demolished Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, to commemorate the earthquake deaths. Each chair is different to represent the unique personalities of the victims.
The Excelsior Hotel was built on this site in 1881. More recently used as a backpackers’ lodge, it was a category one heritage building. All that remains is the western facade, which is being supported by shipping containers.
Cashel Mall is the scene of the Restart the Heart shopping mall created with shipping containers, but today the crowd was waiting for HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. They were visiting the Mall as part of a short trip to Christchurch celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.
The BNZ building, in Cathedral Square, is under deconstruction. Demolition of the 13 storey building was slowed by the discovery of asbestos.
The deconstuction of The Cathedral was halted by a High Court order on 15 November. Demolition is to stop until a judicial review has taken place. The review was sought by the Great Christchurch Building Trust who argue the owners are under a legal obligation to restore the existing Cathedral.
The Old Post Office, a Gothic/Venetian style building dating from the 1870’s has survived. Telecom building is behind.
The Curator’s House is now open again for dining after repair and strengthening. Built in 1920 for the curator of the Botanical Gardens, it has a great outlook across the gardens and the Avon River. It was doing a roaring trade on this Canterbury Show Day holiday.
Christchurch trams resume post earthquake, November 2013, click here.