Where There's a Will

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

Kill the performing arts precinct

05:00am 05 May 2014


Before the earthquakes, Christchurch had a functioning and effective cultural precinct.

It included the Arts Centre, Canterbury Museum, the Art Gallery and the Botanic Gardens, all of them west of Durham St/Cambridge Tce.

The 100-day Blueprint of 2012 ignored that cultural collection and proposed a performing arts precinct east of the Avon River. That proposal was seriously wounded by Christchurch City Council's decision to retain and repair Town Hall.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery Authority and CCC should now drop the performing arts precinct altogether, return the cultural precinct to full glory and site whatever new performing arts buildings are needed somewhere between the Town Hall and the hospital.

This proposal will strand the Isaac Theatre Royal, one of the anchors of the proposed performing arts precinct.

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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 2013

10:12am 20 Oct 2013


The TEDx 2013 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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