What's with the giant spray paint cans in central Christchurch?
Giant spray paint cans will provide the canvas for more street art in central Christchurch.
The cans are the first arrivals to a new public space, due to open by the end of October, on the corner of Lichfield and Manchester streets in the East Frame.
It will have a youth area with basketball court and chill-out space, office space for the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective and Christchurch Youth Council, the Kākano Cafe and cookery school and a community-run car park.
The project is the result a collaboration between developer Fletcher Living and Gap Filler, a Christchurch not-for-profit that manages installations in vacant city spaces.
Fletcher Living contributed $1 million to temporary projects in East Frame sites earmarked for future housing. Some of the money went to Gap Filler, which will manage the dubbed "CitySide" projects for the next two-and-a-half years.
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The giant cans were originally built for the Spectrum Street Art Festival, which ran for two years.
Director George Shaw said it was a big engineering job to weatherproof the cans, each made of three steel sections topped with treated polystyrene and a piece of agricultural drainpipe.
"I think they'll be an amazing asset for the city, and it's a point of difference. They'll be a tourist attraction."
Shaw said they were lucky Ōtākaro stored the cans when Spectrum ended.
"We're just thrilled that we've found a home for them and somewhere where they look so spectacular."
Members of street art group the DTR crew will look after the cans.
Nick "Ikarus" Tam said young street artists could practise on the cans. The crew would run graffiti art workshops. Some works by established street artists would be semi-permanent.
Tam said having a space where young artists could express themselves without being punished was "huge".
Gap Filler co-director Ryan Reynolds said they were open to ideas on what they could do with other East Frame sites.
Fletcher Building residential and and land development chief executive Steve Evans said building on some East Frame spaces was not scheduled for "a number of years".
"That is why we are committed to spending $1m on the project to transform and activate those vacant spaces."
Ōtākaro chief executive Albert Brantley said anchor projects were designed to make the central city appealing and interesting – "and that's not just when the projects are completed, but during construction as well."
The East Frame was scheduled to take between six and eight years, depending on future housing market conditions.