Before I left home, I booked a ticket on the Rebuild Tour, as I wanted to get a local’s insight into how things had changed, and to see the major sites that had been rebuilt since the earthquakes.
I had some time to spare, so I headed to the Cashel Street Re:START mall for some brunch, and ended up having a german sausage with onions. Yumm.
The bus took us along Cambridge Terrace where we were able to see the new Deloite building, and another building under construction. These buildings both had new earthquake technology for their foundations, which allows the buildings to move should a substantial earthquake occur in the future (minor ones occur on a daily basis). I was able to see the ‘shock absorbers’ that are used.
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Our first stop was the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament (also known as the Christchurch Basilica).
Opened in 1904, the cathedral was the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Christchurch. The cathedral was damaged during the 2010 earthquake and was closed. It was further damaged during the 2011 earthquake, when the belltowers fell. (information from Wikipedia)
It was really sad to see this building damaged the way it was. I would have loved to have gone inside prior to the earthquakes to see how great it was. Our guide told us the domes were actually lying in the middle of the road outside the church after the 2011 earthquake.
Apparently a drone was sent through the building to determine how badly damaged it was, and apparently it wasn’t nearly as bad as they had thought. I hope they can rebuild.
Before the earthquakes
This is what the cathedral used to look like
We headed to Madras Street, where there was a building I was sure I saw in 2013 that had been a theatre on the corner of Asaph St. I can’t find the name of it unfortunately. Looking back through my photos, sure enough I found it, but now the back half has been demolished and only the façade remains.
Further along Madras Street we came to lots of open areas, that had once been buildings, and were either now car parks or construction sites.
Madras Street 2013
When I stumbled on these chairs in 2013, I didn’t know what they were, and I thought it odd. Now that I know it is a memorial to those that died during the 2011 earthquake, I understand it better.
“An art installation reflecting on the loss of lives, livelihood and living in our city following the earthquake of 22nd February 2011. The individuality of each chair pays tribute to the uniqueness of each person represented.” Sidedoor
185 Chairs 2013
“The CTV Building was the headquarters of Canterbury Television (locally known as CTV) and other companies. Located on the corner of Cashel and Madras Streets in Christchurch Central City, in New Zealand. It became one of the symbols of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake after 115 people lost their lives when the building collapsed during the disaster; the deaths made up about 60% of the earthquake’s total fatalities.” Wikipedia
It was so sad to see this empty lot and to think of those that lost their lives here.
Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral
This cathedral was still under construction when I was here in 2013, so it was great to be able to see the finished building, and to be able to go inside. It was designed by Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, “known for his innovative work with paper, particularly recycled cardboard tubes used to quickly and efficiently house disaster victims.” Wikipedia
“The building rises 21 metres (69 ft) above the altar. Materials used include 60-centimetre (24 in)-diameter cardboard tubes, timber and steel. The roof is of polycarbon, with eight shipping containers forming the walls. The foundation is concrete slab. The architect wanted the cardboard tubes to be the structural elements, but local manufacturers could not produce tubes thick enough and importing the cardboard was rejected. The 96 tubes, reinforced with laminated wood beams, are “coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants” with two-inch gaps between them so that light can filter inside. Instead of a replacement rose window, the building has triangular pieces of stained glass. The building serves as a conference venue as well as a cathedral.” Wikipedia
Transitional Cathedral 2013
When I was in Christchurch in 2013, the cathedral was still under construction.
Bangor Street Area
This area used to be residential housing, however, as a result of the 2011 earthquake and the resulting liquefaction, all the buildings have since been demolished, and the land can no longer be used for buildings. I feel sorry for the people who lost their homes here and have had to move elsewhere.
Margaret Mahy Family Playground
This playground is open 24/7 and is massive. We only got a glimpse out of the bus window, but it looks like lots of fun for all ages!
Victoria Clock Tower / Diamond Jubilee Clock Tower
Built in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, it has moved around the city a few times. It was damaged during the 2011 earthquake, but appears to be fully repaired now.
Christchurch Provincial Buildings
These buildings were unfortunately badly damaged during the earthquakes, and temporary repairs are the only works that have been completed.
The buildings before the earthquake
General Construction Sites
This is a fairly typical sight in Christchurch!
This is the map of where the tour went
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