Engineering (1891)

The expansive rooms of Engineering, viewed from Worcester Boulevard, were badly damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes and a large part of the building has now been strengthened.

Architectural designs are well underway for the entire Engineering block, with an approach that’s consistent with the rest of the site’s restoration. Historic features remain the hero, while beneath the surface the buildings are being modernised with features including central heating, high-speed internet, strengthening, and the latest in power and lighting systems.

Look closely at Engineering and you’ll see new, replica decorative features such as chimneys and pinnacles that have been carefully crafted by the Arts Centre’s talented team of stonemasons. Historic photographs are used as a guide to recreate such stone features, ensuring they match the originals as closely as possible, and all stonework is strengthened to make it resistant to future earthquakes.

A seismic gap has been created between Engineering and its two neighbours – Clock Tower and Boys’ High – to protect all the buildings from damage in the case of future earthquakes. The building’s windows are being painstakingly restored before they are returned to their original spots.

This is the largest block of buildings on the Arts Centre site and its expansive rooms will house the likes of galleries, performance and exhibition spaces, conference and meeting rooms, indoor markets, studios and offices.

Image gallery of Engineering restoration progress

Why are these buildings called Engineering?

Completed in 1891, these buildings originally housed Canterbury College’s School of Engineering – widely recognised until the 1920s as the most advanced engineering school in the British Empire.

Gifted engineer Robert Julian Scott was employed by Canterbury College to pioneer development of the School of Engineering. He had previously deigned Australasia’s first motorcar, the country’s first refrigerated railway wagon and New Zealand Railways’ first locomotive.

Engineering was designed by renowned New Zealand architect Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort, the man behind much of the Arts Centre’s distinctive Gothic Revival architectural style.

 

The School of Mechanical Engineering building was completed in 1891. Designed by architect, Benjamin Mountfort, the gothic style school was built using basalt and limestone.

Robert Julian Scott, a gifted engineer was employed by Canterbury College to pioneer the development of an engineering school. Robert had previously deigned Australasia’s first motorcar, the country’s first refrigerated railway wagon and New Zealand Railways’ first locomotive.

Incorporating mechanical, electrical and hydraulic engineering laboratories, Canterbury College’s School of Engineering was widely recognised until the 1920s as the most advanced engineering school in the British Empire.

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