Restoration expert backs cathedral safe-havens
A United States restoration expert says he would happily work inside a proposed safe-haven made of steel to repair the Christ Church Cathedral.
University professor and stonemason Marcus Brandt yesterday backed the Great Christchurch Building Trust's plans to stabilise and rebuild the earthquake-damaged landmark using steel safe-havens.
Brandt, who has been restoring historic structures for 30 years, said the trust's plan had "real merit" despite the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority having rejected the use of safe-havens.
"If you stabilise the thing, I'd be happy to go in," he said.
"I think there's some tweaking that could be done to make it better, but certainly it's a great place to start talking. I'd love to be invited in on that conversation, if they'll have me."
Last night, at a University of Canterbury lecture, he outlined his plan for cost-effective restoration. The plan, based around a wooden steeple, would cost about $40 million and take three to five years.
"On the third anniversary of the earthquake we could have the spire up and the bells ringing, if we got the go-ahead before Christmas this year," Brandt said.
"It's not that hard, it's not that expensive and it's not that scary."
Demolishing the cathedral could badly affect New Zealand's reputation. "You're telling the world what kind of people you are by the decisions you make. Anywhere else in the world, this would not even be a question. It would be like `Let's get this done and Bob's your uncle'."
- © Fairfax NZ News