Friday, March 6, 2009

Gothic Revival Icon

Christchurch ArtsCentre. Dec.2008. Ajr
It’s fair to say the Christchurch Arts Centre buildings are among my favourites in the city. Designed as the original location for the University of Canterbury, by architect Benjamin Mountfort, the buildings are a splendid example of Gothic Revival architecture. Their architectural unity belies the fact that they were completed over half a century; and that a second architect, Samuel Hurst Seagar became involved, suggesting “a grand plan” (executed by architects Collins & Harman) that saw the addition of quadrangles and the beautiful columned arcades that are still much admired today. In 1975, when the University moved out of the inner city to its new site in Ilam, the old buildings became home to the Arts Centre. Today they house artist studios, offices, galleries, cafes and craft studios and every weekend, the Arts Centre Markets draw huge crowds to the area.

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