Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saving the Churches
It's Sunday, which always seems like a fair and reasonable time to be thinking about church architecture. And in lieu of the 7.1 earthquake that struck Christchurch and Canterbury on September 4th, there's certainly plenty to think about in that regard. Sadly, some of the province's oldest and loveliest churches have been struck the hardest and as you drive around the inner city, you'll see church after church braced against further damage.
This is just a tiny sample of the cracks and crumblings that have rendered many of the churches unuseable - at least for now. I'm assuming the fact that they have been braced means they're up for restoration (and, one would hope, earthquake strengthening) but given the number of buildings in this state around the city, I'd say the pews will be empty for a long time yet.
The cranes were brought in to assist this old Merivale beauty (above). In the days soon after the quake, the steeple was considered in too precarious a state to leave in situ, so it was carefully lifted off by a big brute of a crane and daintily placed to the side of the church until the quakes stop and all can be made 'habitable' again. I've always had a strong interest in church architecture (click on Churches in the index line below this blog), so seeing these buildings so uniformly 'struck down' has been a sad experience. I haven't had a chance (until now) to go around the city photographing them so I've missed some of the immediate damage (now tidied up); but if the weather holds this week, I hope to do a bit of scouting further afield. I feel bound somehow to catalogue something of the brutality of the day.