Christchurch Arts Centre
The Christchurch Arts Centre is a hub for arts, crafts and entertainment in Christchurch, New Zealand. It is located in the neo-gothic former University of Canterbury buildings, the majority of which were designed by Benjamin Mountfort. It is listed as a Category I building (register number 7301) by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

The Centre includes speciality shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, galleries, theatres and cinemas. There is also a weekend market, and the Centre is the site of many festivals and special events. The Court Theatre is a professional theatre company. It was founded in 1971 and has been at the Arts Centre since 1976. The Twelve Local Heroes is a series of bronze busts located on Worcester Boulevard outside the Arts Centre to commemorate twelve local Christchurch people who were prominent in their respective fields in the latter part of the 20 th century.

Arts Centre of Christchurch Incorporated was created in 1974, when the University completed its move to the new Ilam campus, and ownership of the site was transferred in 1978. The Christchurch Arts Centre is governed by a trust board. Its membership is:
  • John Simpson (chair)
  • Deane Simmonds (deputy chair)
  • Martin Hadley (secretary/treasurer)
  • Derek Anderson
  • Garry Jeffery (representing the New Zealand Historic Places Trust)
  • Ian Lochhead (representing the University of Canterbury)
  • Joanna Mackenzie (representing the Christchurch Civic Trust)
  • Deborah McCormick
  • Cindy Robinson
  • Denise Sheet (representing NgÄi Tahu)
  • Sue Wells (representing Christchurch City Council)

Proposed School of Music
It is proposed to use the Arts Centre car park located off Hereford Street for a School of Music for the University of Canterbury. There is strong debate about this proposal. Proponents value the additional vibrancy that this would bring into the Cultural Precinct, and that the university would move back to their original site. Opponents say that the proposed building is out of scale with the existing Arts Centre, that the building design would detract from the heritage value. There is also concern about the Christchurch City Council's funding role for a university facility. An organisation opposing the proposal, Save Our Arts Centre (SOAC) has formed, with Dame Ann Hercus acting as spokesperson.

2010 earthquake damage
In the early hours of 4 September 2010, a major earthquake caused extensive damage throughout the region. The arts centre buildings suffered serious damage; collapsing chimneys damaged the great hall, the observatory and the clock tower. Arts Centre director Ken Franklin commented that prior measures taken to reinforce the buildings may have prevented additional damage.

2011 earthquake damage
The Arts Centre was very badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake which struck on the 22nd of February 2011. All historic buildings are inaccessible to the public and the complex is closed for the foreseeable future. Nobody died in the Arts Centre. There is a general commitment to rebuild and repair most buildings, with the possible exception of the Observatory Tower, which completely collapsed. This will take years and will most likely cost over 100 million dollars.

Building Activity

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