'Momentous' occasion for Knox Church

Last updated 11:15 14/12/2013
Ollie Wall

Aerial footage showing concrete buttresses being lowered into Knox Church

Knox Church
Daniel Tobin Zoom
Architect Alun Wilkie (left) and engineer Mark Bellany stand next to one of the installed buttresses.

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The $5.5 million project of rebuilding the earthquake-damaged Knox Presbyterian Church has moved a step closer.

Two lanes of Bealey Ave on the corner of Victoria St were closed to motorists from 5am this morning while four pre-cast, post-tensioned buttresses were lifted over the roof of the church.

They were positioned in place before being connected to the existing timber structure.

A 250-tonne Titan crane was required to manage the huge weight of the buttresses, which were designed by Wilkie and Bruce Architects and Aurecon.
Alun Wilkie of Wilkie and Bruce Architects said today's effort was completed ahead of schedule.

"It is all finished - after about five or six hours. It has gone smoothly. Everything is away from the site now," he said.

Wilkie said it was a "momentous" occasion for the Knox congregation.

"This is now the beginning of building their new structure and exterior around the remaining heritage interior. It's quite a unique building project. I don't think it has been done anywhere in the world," he said.

The concrete buttresses ranged from 6.3 metres to 8.3m high, with the largest one weighing about 13 tonne.

Wilkie said the church would be able to be reused quickly following an earthquake due to its "rocking column" low-damage design.

"In the event of an earthquake the whole structure will come back to its original position," he said.

Work on the church was expected to be completed by July, including its interior.

"Our company has done a lot of heritage work over the years, but this is without doubt the most unique. It is a wonderful building on a really prominent site."

Today's lift is the first of two, with the and a second is planned for February 2014 when the remaining 10 buttresses required for the rebuild, will be fitted.

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