Where There's a Will

Follow one man's bid to rebuild his home in shattered Christchurch.

Shigeru Ban should rebuild Christ Church Cathedral

10:56am 26 Mar 2014


cathedral concept planAnglicans should hire Cardboard Cathedral architect Shigeru Ban to fix or replace their damaged cathedral in the square.

Ban yesterday won the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered to be the pre-eminent lifetime achievement award in the architecture profession. The citation didn't mention the Cardboard Cathedral specifically, but the administrators provided photos of the triangular building that he designed as evidence of his excellence.

The diocese has an existing relationship with Ban, from the Cardboard Cathedral days, and he knows something of the city from his visits. I have no idea if he would be interested, but like the idea of 2014's best architect taking on Christchurch's most prominent building.

This idea won't please Jim Anderton, Phillip Burdon and others who want a faithful restoration of the old building, but it leaves to Ban whether to tear down and replace the entire building (the diocese's preference) or reuse some portions of the old building in a new one.

One of the problems Anglicans face is that the Warren and Mahoney concept plan for an entirely new building, see photo, wasn't loved by all. Indeed the concept plan probably drove people to support complete restoration because they feared a new building wouldn't be great, that Warren and Mahoney weren't up the job.

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Three best things about Festa

10:53am 29 Oct 2013


festa puppet

The second annual Festival of Transitional Architecture wrapped Monday night. Here are my three favourite events and ideas: 

Three: Let's get earnest

Festa people are wonderfully and happily earnest.

Picture House, for example, was two-person movie theatre mounted on a trailer that visited the sites of former Christchurch cinemas.

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Top five moments at TEDx ChCh

10:12am 20 Oct 2013


Saturday's TEDx Christchurch event featured 18 speakers and entertainers spread over more than 10 hours. Here are my top five:

Five. Jessie Hillel

hillel tedx chch

The 12-year-old's first few notes exploded into the Auroa Centre auditorium with such force that almost everyone was taken aback.

How could such power come from a child so small?

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Pay red-zoned landowners 100 per cent

10:45am 28 Aug 2013


The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has been ordered by a judge to rethink the red-zone offers made to two small groups - those who owned empty sections in the residential red zone and those with residences in the red zone who were not insured for one reason or another. These are the Outcasts.

Canterbury Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee has already announced that the Government will appeal, but there's another way forward that is fairer to these two groups and, provided some administrative steps are taken properly, probably lawful.

Both Outcast groups argued the compensation offered by Cera - 50 per cent of the value of their land based on the 2007 ratings - was unfair.

Monday's court decision setting aside these offers doesn't say what level of compensation is appropriate. Rather, it says the decision was ''not made according to law'' and directs Brownlee and Cera chief executive Roger Sutton to ''reconsider and reach a new decision'' with regard to the compensation.

In my view - and I was briefly a lawyer - a ''new decision'' could be to offer 50 per cent of the valuations, which would be legal provided the decision was ''made in accordance with the law''.

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Win for owners in the red zone

05:00am 28 Aug 2013


The decision by the High Court to quash the Government's compensation offer for uninsured residential red zone land is some vindication for the owners who challenged the offer.

After finding that the procedure the Government followed in arriving at the offer was unlawful, Justice Graham Panckhurst also took stern issue with one of the main arguments the Government made to justify offering the owners half the 2007 value of their land.

The Government had argued that if it had decided to make 100 per cent offers for damage to uninsured land, it would create a disincentive to owners to take out insurance. While the judge conceded that that was a legitimate factor to take into account, it had been applied too crudely.

It was, in this instance, a blunt instrument, he said, because it failed to distinguish between those who had chosen not to take out insurance from those who could not get it because the land was vacant and therefore uninsurable.

It is an argument some of those who challenged the offer had long been making and they will be pleased to see it has been accepted.

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