Awards recognise work on arts centre
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 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 because of the history of the site and its cultural and social significance to Christchurch.