Arts Centre restoration countdown

30 January 2018

The countdown is on for completion of two more historic buildings which will effectively re-open the entire western end of the Arts Centre.

By November, both the West Lecture and School of Art buildings will be completed, offering spaces for boutique cinema, artist apartments, co-working offices, community venues and hospitality.

“This will be a great milestone for the Arts Centre because both quads will be more publicly accessible and it’ll give people a whole lot of new reasons to visit us,” says Arts Centre chief executive André Lovatt.

Last year’s UNESCO Cultural Heritage Conservation win for restoration of the Great Hall and Clock Tower buildings bolstered the Arts Centre’s confidence in its approach, he says.

“In addition to carefully restoring the original heritage features of these historic buildings, they are being fitted out with the latest modern infrastructure such as central heating and pre-cabling for fibre internet.

“Every part of the project is value engineered. The quality has to be of the highest quality and our job is to make sure money is being spent in the best possible way.”

The Arts Centre is an independent charitable trust that relies on fundraising, grants and partnerships to continue the site’s restoration and maintenance. There is about four years worth of restoration work remaining at the Arts Centre and the delivery timeframe depends on securing funding.

“The remaining restoration will cost about $90m and the Trust is short by about $35m. In 2018 we are aiming to raise $11m to restore the Observatory Tower.

“It’s going to take a considerable effort to raise the final funds to complete the restoration but we’re confident the people of Canterbury and New Zealand will support us.

“Since opening the Great Hall, there seems to have been a real renaissance of people appreciating the remaining built heritage in Christchurch. A lot of people we engage with are conscious of the huge importance to our community of the restoration efforts.”