Student Union (1929)

The Student Union was one of the most severely damaged buildings on the site, with the February 2011 earthquake severely compromising its structural strength.

Design concepts for the building are currently under discussion by the Arts Centre team, Board of Trustees and external contractors. Available funding and construction restrictions, as well as impact of the new design on current heritage legislation and guidelines are all factors that are being taken into consideration.

Earthquake damage to the building included shear cracks, displacement of stonework, loss of pointing, damage to external brickwork and chimney loss.

History & Heritage

The Student Union Building was opened in 1929. The building is the result of extensive remodelling of the residence of a local merchant, established alongside the College in 1883.

In 1926, Canterbury College purchased Llanmaes, a small building designed by Francis Petre – the Dunedin architect who also designed Christchurch’s Catholic Cathedral.

Architects, Collins and Harman altered and extended the house considerably, and in 1929 the Students’ Association was established and the building was used as a common room for staff and students. The College Rector at the time, James Hight, considered the building a place where students could polish their social skills saying the building was “one of the real laboratories of life”.

After World War II, the building underwent major extensions as a result of the dramatic increase in returned servicemen.

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