Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to the Square

After being off limits for nine months, Cathedral Square was finally re-opened on Saturday November 26th to pedestrians. Thousands took advantage of the fine weather to visit the City's devastated heart.

While the plinth that once supported the statue of Canterbury's 'founder' John Robert Godley remains empty since its toppling in the February earthquake, Neil Dawson's chalice sculpture appears unaffected. In the background, the soon to be demolished BNZ building.

Once the first structure in the Square to surpass the height of the Cathedral spire, the BNZ tower now awaits the wrecking ball.

Empty buildings and the first tendrils of Xmas.

Deep inside the exclusion zone the Hotel Grand Chancellor slowly succumbs to the demolition crews.

Did they repair the paving? The eerily empty zone in front of the ruined Cathedral appears strangely undamaged.

The South side of the Cathedral, as an earthquake tour bus passes through the exclusion zone. 

Unlike the nearby Cathedral, William Trethewey's Citizens' War Memorial appears undamaged.

Originally the  Chief Post Office, the former Starbucks and Visitor Information Centre remains off limits. Hopefully it can be saved from demolition.

Once home to the Ministry of Works and Development, Christchurch architect J. C. Maddison's elegant Government Building was saved from threatened demolition over twenty years ago. After undergoing extensive renovation it became the Heritage Hotel. The substantial strengthening carried out at the time appears to have paid off, as the hotel is scheduled to re-open in 2012.

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