Monday, March 28, 2011

The Loss of Important Architectural Heritage

My worst fears have been realised - the magnificent Stone Chamber at the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings in Christchurch has been destroyed by the February 22nd, 2011 eathquake. Already badly wounded after the September 4, 2010 quake, it had been braced to protect it from further damage. When I cycled past it a few days ago, this is what I saw - a tortured tangled of stone and steel. I've written about the Provincial Council Buildings several times before - (click on Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings in index line below)- and anyone who has stepped inside this large, unique complex will appreciate what a sad loss the Stone Chamber's demise represents. This is what it looked like - a stunning, intricately-crafted architectural masterpiece. I just wish I had taken more close-up photographs of the tile and timber detailing last time I visited before all this terrible earthquake business began. I'm not sure what the final fate of the complex will be. It's not all as obviously damaged as the Stone Chamber, but the rear of the buildings, in the inner courtyard, were badly shattered in the September quake, so it seems unlikely much - if anything - will be saved.


Paul said...


Adrienne Rewi said...

Dreadful indeed. These photographs of the interior of the Stone Chamber prior to the earthquakes really don't do it justice at all. It was a remarkable piece of architecture and detailed to within an inch of its life - though not ostentatiously. - Adrienne

Paul said...

Yes, it was marvellous. It was also our first protected historic building, under the Canterbury Provincial Chambers Vesting Act 1928;

Sandy said...

My bottom lip quivers everytime i see photos ... i've seen many now of the lovely Chambers in this condiion and no matter how many i see the shock is still huge... we've lost so so so much :((((


Adrienne Rewi said...

It's a sad loss for the city Sandy but I'm hoping there may be a chance of rebuilding - though that would take many years I'm sure.

kiwi_tea said...

For the past year I've been looking at images of Christchurch from afar - Wellington - as part of a fine arts project. What is happening down there makes me very angry, the people without homes, without livelihoods, and the indifference they face from the bureaucracy. You've done so much important documentation of buildings. I've stumbled across your blog multiple times.

I intend to go down to Christchurch once I have the money to paint. In the meantime, bloggers like yourself have done so much. Thank you. Thank you for showing the world this sort of horrible loss.

Matty Smith


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