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Manawatu Standard - - Front Page - LIZ MCDON­ALD

NA­TIONAL: The $290 mil­lion restora­tion of the Christchurch Arts Cen­tre has won two ma­jor her­itage awards from the United Na­tions cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The $290 mil­lion restora­tion of the Christchurch Arts Cen­tre has won two ma­jor her­itage awards.

The United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Unesco) gave its Asia Pa­cific merit award for cul­tural her­itage con­ser­va­tion to the restora­tion of the cen­tre’s Great Hall and Clock Tower build­ing.

Duong Bich Hanh, jury chair­woman and Unesco Bangkok’s cul­ture unit chief, said the res­ur­rec­tion of the build­ings re­turned a ma­jor his­toric land­mark to the pub­lic. They served as a so­cial, ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural hub in the com­mu­nity.

It is the fourth time the awards have recog­nised a New Zealand project. Forty-three projects in 10 coun­tries were nom­i­nated.

The jury’s re­port said that af­ter suf­fer­ing ma­jor earth­quake dam­age, the build­ings’ ma­sonry struc­tures un­der­went ‘‘a so­phis­ti­cated regime of seis­mic strength­en­ing and retrofitting, along with painstak­ing re­con­struc­tion of sig­nif­i­cant her­itage fea­tures’’, while mod­ern fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices were ‘‘dis­creetly in­serted to en­hance the con­tem­po­rary func­tion­al­ity’’.

Arts Cen­tre chief ex­ec­u­tive An­dre Lo­vatt said the award was ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’ and a sig­nif­i­cant en­dorse­ment for the ‘‘mag­nif­i­cent’’ restora­tion work.

The sec­ond recog­ni­tion for the project came from the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects, which gave Christchurch ar­chi­tec­ture firm War­ren and Ma­honey its her­itage award.

The in­sti­tute noted the ‘‘painstak­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail and faith­ful repli­ca­tion’’ of the Arts Cen­tre.

War­ren and Ma­honey man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Mar­shall said the project was a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity due to the his­tory of the site and its cul­tural and so­cial sig­nif­i­cance to Christchurch.

The chal­lenge was to work with the fab­ric of the build­ings and bring them up to earth­quake stan­dards as well as make them com­mer­cially vi­able and fu­ture­proof, Mar­shall said.

One of the pro­cesses used was ap­ply­ing glass-re­in­forced poly­mer over the brick­work to lock it in place.

The Arts Cen­tre is the largest site in New Zealand where the sys­tem has been used.

The Christchurch earth­quakes dam­aged all 23 build­ings in the Arts Cen­tre. About half the com­plex, orig­i­nally the Univer­sity of Can­ter­bury cam­pus, has re­opened.

Funds for the restora­tion have come from in­sur­ance, fundrais­ing, grants and part­ner­ships.

The Clock Tower build­ing at the Christchurch Arts Cen­tre.

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