Chch: A masterpiece of early 21st-century architecture


Complaints have been raised about the metal, concrete and glass boxes that are replacing many character and heritage buildings in Christchurch. 

I think people will come to admire this type of architecture one day, and Christchurch will be seen as a masterpiece of early 21st-century design.

Several hundred new buildings will be erected in central Christchurch over the next 10 to 15 years. By economic necessity, most will incorporate current technologies and systems. Yes, that probably means plenty of steel, glass, concrete and there may be a copper trend. 

One day the rebuild will be done and Christchurch will be almost frozen in time - a slowly changing city of pleasing  symmetry and uniformity.

Meanwhile, new technologies and building systems will evolve and be incorporated into new buildings around the world. But few of these new buildings (whatever they may look like) will surface in Christchurch because our CBD stock won't need replacing for many decades, perhaps even a century.

In the meantime, our CBD will age gracefully and tourists will visit just to see our buildings, the way they flock to Napier to see Pacific Art Deco from the 1930s and Oamaru to see it's treasured Victorian buildings from 1865-1885. Note the tight timeframe.

Many of the people complaining now about steel and glass boxes won't be alive to see the city appreciated, but this way of thinking is at least hopeful. The alternative is despair.

The Press