Buildings – History and Restoration

The Arts Centre buildings have a rich history – one that now includes their extensive restoration following the Canterbury earthquakes.

The complex task of restoration is taking place in stages, with buildings prioritised depending on factors such as damage, heritage significance, safety and cost.

Click on the interactive map below to find out about each building’s restoration and history.

Registry Student Union The Gym Engineering Common Room Library Physics Chemistry School Of Art West Lecture Classics Building Rutherfords Den Clock Tower Boys High Workshop Great Hall

Rutherford’s Den (1877)

Scientific discovery and hands-on experimentation will take centre stage once more at the Arts Centre when a state-of-the-art Rutherford’s Den re-opens in July

Read more about this building

The Great Hall (1882)

Now open to the community and available for hire, the Great Hall has been extensively strengthened, repaired and restored, although most of this work is intentionally hidden beneath its beautiful heritage fabric.

Read more about this building

Plantroom (2017)

The only new build onsite, this largely underground, centralised plant room and workshop is on track to be completed in early 2017.

Read more about this building

Boys’ High (1881)

Tenants with a specialty retail focus are being sought for Boys’ High, including a café, and creative industries such as fashion, locally produced products, food and galleries. Christchurch's i-SITE is its first confirmed tenant.

Read more about this building

Clock Tower (1877)

Situated between the bustling new office precinct and Botanic Gardens, the Clock Tower has been restored with hospitality in mind.

Read more about this building

Classics (1882)

Classics is nestled between the Great Hall and West Lecture and features beautiful indoor spaces.

Read more about this building

West Lecture (1917)

The ground floor of West Lecture will welcome the return of boutique cinema to the Arts Centre, while upstairs there will be four apartments for artists and writers in residence.

Read more about this building

School of Art (1878)

The School of Art’s first floor will be filled with a creative industries co-working hub, while the ground floor will host hospitality, venues and community event spaces.

Read more about this building

Chemistry (1910)

The new, modern layout of this building has been perfectly tailored for University of Canterbury music and classics students who move in during 2017.

Read more about this building

Physics, Biology and Observatory (1896)

Dedicated studio spaces, workshops and accommodation are focuses for these buildings, along with the restoration of its fully functioning observatory.

Read more about this building

Library (1916)

The Library has been fully restored and leased and will open to the public as an art gallery in 2017. Located near the centre of the Arts Centre site, its open plan space and natural lighting is perfect for exhibitions.

Read more about this building

Common Room (1916)

The two-storey Common Room has been restored to its original open plan design and is being used for arts and education.

Read more about this building

Engineering (1923)

Engineering’s expansive rooms will house the likes of galleries, performance and exhibition spaces, conference and meeting rooms, studios and offices.

Read more about this building

Gymnasium (1908)

Fully restored and leased, this beautiful building is complemented by a modern, soaring glass canopy.

Read more about this building

Student Union (1882)

The Students’ Association building is the only Heritage Category II building within the Arts Centre.

Read more about this building

Registry (1916)

Registry has been fully restored and leased. Spaces facing onto Market Square are dedicated to artisan food providers, while the rest of the building houses arts organisations and commercial tenants.

Read more about this building