29 Aug 2013

All Christchurch town hall to be conserved

9:52 pm on 29 August 2013

Christchurch City Council unanimously voted on Thursday to conserve Christchurch town hall in its entirety.

Four options for repair of the quake-damaged premises were considered.

They all supported the restoration of the hall's main auditorium and theatre, but differed on whether the southern wing be kept as it is, or is replaced with something modern.

Exterior damage to the Christchurch town hall from the earthquakes.

Exterior damage to the Christchurch town hall from the earthquakes. Photo: RNZ

Councillors voted for option one, which opts to keep the wing, along with the rest of the building.

Members of the public applauded when the decision was reached.

The work will cost about $127 million.

The damage was caused by liquefaction under the building and horizontal ground movement towards the Avon River.

One of the architects who designed the building, Sir Miles Warren, says he's very pleased there will be a total restoration.

"Oh wonderful, wonderful. I don't think we had any doubts before but ... it's great. With just the auditorium the whole thing is belittled, it would really cease to be a great work of architecture - which it is."

Sir Miles says the council has avoided disaster by choosing to save the whole building.

He says knocking down parts of the hall would have completely ruined it architecturally.

Construction is expected to begin next year and is likely to take four years, at a cost of $127.5 million.