Christchurch earthquake memorial designs unveiled gallery

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1. REFLECTIVE MEMORIAL: A memorial wall with a reflective pond.

2. TABLE AND CHAIRS: Names embossed on a steel ribbon suspended above tables.

3. GREEN, PEACEFUL: A spiral path with a chestnut tree in the middle

4. CALL AND RESPONSE: A sonic field of memory incorporating sound and engraved stone walls.

5. RIVERSIDE PROMENADE: Terraced steps connect memorial and river, creating an opportunity to interact with water as well as sit in the sun.

6. CURVED AND INCLUSIVE: Formerly known as the "Veil of Tears", this design forms a place of contemplation.

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The six shortlisted designs for the multi-million dollar Canterbury Earthquake Memorial have been unveiled.

Associate Earthquake Recovery Minister Nicky Wagner announced the final designs Tuesday afternoon.  

1. Memorial Wall with a reflective pond

This design is a long curving white "ribbon" wall of different heights and sizes. There are various "rooms" through the wall with the names of earthquake victims placed in lit alcoves in the wall. It includes a reflection pond.

2. Table and Chairs

A bronzed 55m x 60cm table and 185 chairs would be fixed on the site. Some of the chairs people could sit on, others would structurally support the table.

Names would be embossed on a steel ribbon suspended above the table. The idea was based on the 185 empty white chairs memorial to the earthquake victims, which is opposite the site of the Canterbury Television building. 

3. A Green and Peaceful Landscape

This involves a spiral path with a chestnut tree in the middle. At the centre of the spiral is a shallow pool with the names underneath the water. The design includes a bridge across the Avon River. 

4. Call and Response

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A sonic field of memory incorporating sound and engraved stone walls. This design includes a bridge and concave mirrors that reflect sound. Recordings, such as birdsong, would play. Victims names would be placed in alcoves. There would be a grove of Kowhai trees, which flower in February. 

5. Riverside Promenade

A remembrance wall on the Oxford Tce side of the river with a row of cherry trees to honour the Japanese nationals who died in the quake. Pieces of historic facades from buildings would be incorporated in the promenade. 

6. A Curved and Inclusive Memorial Wall 

Formerly known as the "Veil of Tears", this design forms a place of contemplation. Water would flow along the top and face of the curved wall over victims' names carved from greenstone. Stone terraces and an oval lawn could accommodate large numbers for civic events.


The memorial will form part of the Avon River Precinct, between Montreal St and Rhododendron Island, on the corner of Oxford Tce, Lichfield St and Durham St South.

The preferred design will be created using up to $10 million from the Government and $1m from the mayoral relief fund.

Families of those killed in the February 2011 quake and the seriously injured were invited to preview the final six designs on Sunday. About 40 people went along. 

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) earthquake memorial development director Rob Kerr said the design brief was for both or either side of the Avon River. 

Victims' families wanted the memorial to include water, greenery and honour those who died, the injured and rescuers. 

The memorial should provide an experience, rather than simply act as a monument, Kerr said.

The shortlisted designs, which were anonymous, were "powerful", he said. 

"It's all about the idea, it's not about the reputation of the designer.

"On its own the site has water and large fantastic trees, which are the things the families wanted to see.

"The designers have really put a lot of heart and soul into it."

All the designs were within budget and were in a similar cost "ball-park", Kerr said. 

The memorial needed to be durable, not just look pretty in a picture, he said. 

The public will be asked for feedback on the finalised designs, which will be viewable online and will soon go on display outside Canterbury Museum on Rolleston Ave.

After the feedback, a Cera panel will make a recommendation on its preferred design to a memorial leadership group made up of Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Wagner, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry and Ngai Tahu representatives. 

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee will make the final decision in May.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority hoped to have the memorial built by February 22, 2016 but this would depend which design was selected.

 - The Press


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