Arts Centre building secures generous grant

1 August 2018

A $4.83 million boost from New Zealand Lottery Grants Board is set to help the restoration of one of the most recognisable Arts Centre of Christchurch buildings.

The Lottery Grants Board has awarded the Arts Centre $4,832,882 from its Significant Projects Fund for the Observatory Tower and Biological Laboratory building.

The tower and laboratory – one of the centre’s 22 heritage-listed buildings – was one of the most visibly damaged at the internationally significant heritage landmark after the February 2011 earthquake.

Its $10 million restoration will see it rebuilt on the original site, to the original external plan and using original materials. Hidden seismic strengthening and modern amenities will ensure its integrity.

“We are absolutely delighted and incredibly grateful for this funding, which helps us get much closer to our goal of raising $10m for the restoration of the Observatory Tower and Biological Laboratory building,” says Arts Centre chief executive Philip Aldridge.

“Once we have raised the money and the project is complete, this building will be able to reopen to the public, which will be exciting.”

One of the building’s highlights will be the restored tower, which will feature a new, state-of-the-art star-gazing astronomy dome and the 154-year-old Teece Townsend telescope.

“The rare telescope is an amazing object of Christchurch heritage that was saved, in pieces, from the rubble and painstakingly restored by the late Graeme Kershaw, with thanks to the University of Canterbury.”

Work on the building, which is part of the Arts Centre’s second restoration stage, is due to start in the first quarter of 2019.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga’s Canterbury/West Coast area manager Christine Whybrew said: “We were very happy to support the Arts Centre’s funding application for its restoration and we were delighted to hear that the application was successful. We look forward to the restoration work getting under way.”

For more information, please contact:
Jo Gilbert
Arts Centre communications and engagement manager
027 609 7973