15 Cashel St and 237 Hereford St were spotted by Press reporter Will Harvie and featured in The Press on November 28th 2015:
Great place to be: Five medium-sized buildings to debate
The Commodore across from the Cardboard Cathedral is a funky Art Deco replica. Do you like The Commodore’s colours?
These townhouses at 15 Cashel won an architectural award.
WILL HARVIE finds five medium-sized buildings that stand out.
Folks have been celebrating — and criticising — the major rebuilds underway in Christchurch but there’s been plenty of smaller projects finishing within the Four Avenues that are worthy of debate too. These smaller structures will define future Christchurch as much as the anchor projects, so we went looking for five medium-sized repairs and rebuilds that caught the eye. Most turned to be apartments or townhouses. What do you think?
Built in homage to an Art Deco building that once stood on the site across from the Cardboard Cathedral, The Commodore is a new building by well-known Christchurch landlord Liz Harris.
For a new building, it celebrates some of the 1920-30 Art Deco signature elements: softly rounded corners, repeated patterns, pastel colours and an NZ touch, cabbage trees instead of palm trees. As much as the original Deco was a complete break with the Christchurch villas of earlier previous decades, The Commodore represents a complete break with the Christchurch rebuild.
Peacock St and surrounds
There’s a pocket of rebuilds going into the Peacock St area — rough south of Bealey and north of the Casino between Durham and Montreal — that shout post-quake inner-city Christchurch. Once dominated by villas and worker’s cottages, the area is getting rebuilds that are bold contemporary structures with high garden walls and gates, small grounds and little grass.
Things are tightly packed, the sort of density that Christchurch planners want if urban sprawl is to be contained. Some may prefer the older cottages in this area, but if demolition was necessary, replacing with smart contemporary is a reasonable call. Discuss.
Another Liz Harris building and this one won an award for Athfield Architects. They’re basically textured concrete, gable roofs and “clipped” eaves. Some might call the streetside unit a bunker, but Harris insists “everyone likes it”.
The Canterbury Architecture Award judges noted it was “skilfully arranged to complement and improve the character of the street”. Love it or hate it, at least you know what you’re getting at 15 Cashel.
Knox Church interior
For a time after the February 2011 quake, Knox Church at Bealey and Victoria was Christchurch’s Tintern Abbey — a beautiful ruin. It was eventually repaired but the new concrete and copper exterior could never really compete with the haunting hulk.
But oh, the interior’s been done well. The totara, matai, rimu and kauri lining the ceilings, walls and floors have been restored and the high arches still pull the eye towards the heavens. The organ was renewed, the acoustics improved and it’s become a venue for music lovers. Well worth a look inside.
The last remnant of old High St, Duncan’s Building is a category 2 heritage place built about 1905. Individual units have separate owners and the tears spilled over restoring this modest building could fill an anchor project.
But little by little it’s coming right. Immediately north, the fire-ravaged Billens Building has been removed and the former McKenzie and Willis facade been saved. A new build for business tenants is going in behind. Some Duncan unit owners have forged ahead with repairs and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority is “currently considering options” for the seven units it owns. If demolition is necessary, Cera may try to save the facade.
Tell us what you think of our picks, and suggest other medium-sized buildings that stand out.