Being English, I never get used to the thrill of the ocean… this is the sight that usually greets me on my cycle back to Sumner from the Central City as I round the point after Redcliffs. There’s something extraordinary about a city that has the wild, visceral beauty of the ocean lapping at its edges. I think it is the main thing we’ll all miss when we return home after our stint here.
I’m spending some time in Christchurch, New Zealand, working with the Earthquake Recovery Agency on the rebuilding and re-imagining of the city post earthquake. It’s an extraordinary experience, and an extraordinary thing to be part of. Not many cities have the opportunity to reinvent themselves at this stage of their lifecycle – but here, there’s a mandate to shrink the city and make it denser, more vibrant and different from the open grained city as planned in 1850 (along with Philadelphia and Adelaide). Here’s a snapshot of a few things so far:
I love the common or garden materials – particularly the black corrugated metal (above and below) used here on a couple of buildings out at Littleton. It’s so Wild West, so practical, straightforward and beautiful.
So many of the other ‘ordinary’ buildings are so effortlessly straightforward. This is a beachside cafe, but typical of many buildings. This timber detail is used everywhere – as are these off the shelf metal gutters (and, of course, the metal roof sheeting).
Above – the Pallet Pavilion – a Gap Filler project on on of the vacant city sites (of which there are many – 70% of the fabric in the central city has been lost). Such a great project – see their website here for more info.