Beautiful historic New Regent street. Here you can almost pretend that no earthquakes had happened in Christchurch.
A few days ago I spent two days in Christchurch at the end of a 10 day New Zealand holiday. I had also visited the earthquake-ravaged city in August last year. I was curious to see the changes between then and now. This post is a small photo album of how Christchurch is looking in April 2014.
How wonderful to see that the trams have started again. Also it is incredible that there is so little damage in New Regent Street! It is well and truly open for business.
I enjoyed coming across art in the streets. This is a different kind of street art; SANCTIONED street art. Some of it is organized by Christchurch Art Gallery. Its own building is still closed while extensive repairs take place. Therefore it has been instrumental in putting copies of its pictures out and about.
A ballerina from Swan Lake is being sprayed onto a wall. You can see the artist working from the cherry-picker.
Twisted reinforcing steel makes a good spot for pigeons. (I couldn’t help noticing the pigeons when I was photographing the big ballerina mural.)
Notice the art works on this building…
Here is a closer view.
Another piece organized by the Christchurch Art Gallery. It is lovely to come across these images when you are walking in Christchurch.
An enormous mural of sea birds covers a wall.
A striking abstract wall.
One of the two large gnomes who stand to attention outside the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Suspended dance floor complete with music and disco ball.
Here is the source of the music – a musicked-up washing machine. Please enjoy DANCE O MAT. Seriously – you can choose your song!
Sometimes small gardens have been erected but in most cases it is just hard ground and lots of it.
This huge mural (you can see the size of it compared to the man standing in front of it) tells us that this is a strip joint.
Public art juxtaposes with buildings and space to make some strange compositions.
Sometimes it is the traffic sign which inadvertently becomes art.
There is too much space in Christchurch. Remember this was a city. It was hard to find a car park before September 2010. Now one is so aware of SPACE.
Three walkers stride through – what was here? High Street, Manchester Street? I forget.
Huge spaces around the Forsyth Barr builidng. In the earthquake of February 22nd 2011, the staircases inside this office block collapsed. Workers had to be rescued through an upper-storey window.
This was a block of extremely expensive and brand new apartments. It is being demolished right now. You can see a hole in the wall?.. (near the top and to the left). That is where the building next door was hitting it during the shaking.
Some of the massive empty spaces have been planted with grass making urban paddocks. Here is Matthew posing for me on grass where city buildings used to stand.
More grass with a church behind which I believe will be saved.
We briefly went out to the coast to the suburb of Sumner.
Here is some vertical space which developed with huge rockfalls. Nobody would have expected cliffs to fall away.
Not so far from the site of the cliff in the last photo is a landmark which had been known as Shag Rock. Can you believe the forces which shattered an enormous rock? Now it is known as Shag Pile. (Very droll!)
The Port Hills have some new shapes. There didn’t used to be a nipple here but now there is. It is nice to see that Ferrymead Riding School is still here by the way.
Back in town, I’ll finish by showing you the new Cardboard Cathedral. The old Anglican Cathedral is still in tatters in Cathedral Square.
The Wizard of New Zealand – yes, there really is such a character – wants to save the Anglican Cathedral in The Square.
The Transitional Cathedral, better known as the Cardboard Cathedral.
While debate rages about what to do with the iconic Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square, there is a new Transitional Cathedral made of CARDBOARD! It is designed by Japanese Architect, Shigeru Ban who has this year won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. You can read about his award here – http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2014/announcement
Interior view towards altar. Even the cross is cardboard.
I thought the windows might be perspex but no, they are glass. There is a beautiful atmosphere of peace and hope inside the Transitional Cathedral.
A suspended sculpture of a steeple hangs in Latimer Square. Beyond the trees is the Transitional Cathedral.
Matt and I both had the song “(Nothing But) Flowers” by Talking Heads playing in our heads while we were walking around the city. Some of the lines are, “There was a shopping mall/Now it’s all covered with flowers/you’ve got it, you’ve got it/If this is paradise/I wish I had a lawnmower/you’ve got it, you’ve got it/This was a discount store/Now it’s turned into a cornfield/you’ve got it, you’ve got it…” And the final lines are “Don’t leave me stranded here/I can’t get used to this lifestyle.” (Apologies to Talking Heads as I have only picked out a few of their lines.)
If you would like to look back on my August Christchurch visit click here. I was told that 70,000 people left since the shaking began in September 2010. The population is growing again now as the city rebuilds.