New Lease of Life
Cityscape has a look at a few of the old Christchurch buildings getting a new purpose.
We’re all thinking ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ – right? But it’s hard to compete with certain local entrepreneurs and business owners who have taken this line of thinking to a macro scale by repurposing and rejuvenating some of the city’s old buildings. With local architectural history taking a bit of a thrashing in recent years, it’s good to see there are still plenty of places you can go in the city to inject a bit of old-fashioned character and charm into your day.
QB STUDIOS Cityscape’s new HQ, Qb Studios – once a nondescript 80s warehouse facility and then a mechanic’s workshop – has recently been gussied up good and proper, with the building’s original shell now housing modern modular office units that are home to a range of funky businesses. There's also a buzzing café and a communal / collaborative space with a retro feel that doubles as a mini art-gallery.
HELLO SUNDAY Hello Sunday’s unassuming wooden building in Sydenham is a heritage award finalist that actually dates all the way back to the 1870s, when it was erected in the central city as an early post office. When the mail moved out, the building shifted to Sydenham for a new life as a Sunday school – a backstory you can spot today in the acclaimed café’s antique pews.
POMEROY’S OLD BREWERY INN This grand old lady of hospitality in Kilmore Street occupies two double-storey brick buildings that were once part of Ward’s Brewery, dating back to 1854. Brewery operations onsite halted in 1955, but then Pomeroy’s opened in 2004, much to the joy of lovers of good beer and good pub food.
THE TANNERY The Woolston retail boutique and entertainment hub is housed inside buildings originally built as part of the eponymous tannery, which dates back to about 1874, and the aesthetics of its Victorian era orgins have been gloriously embraced in its makeover.
XCHC The Exchange’s (XCHC) creative hub in Wilson's Road was formerly occupied by a pickle and salami factory, built in 1950. The building also housed an auto parts business before its recent transformation into a flexible production and showcase space.
THE COURT THEATRE The relocated Court's nickname – ‘The Shed’ – amusingly downplays the scale of the 3,200 square metre former grain store that now houses the theatre, while the trappings of the building’s former life add a touch of industrial chic to the foyer.
HOTEL MONTREAL It’s only been a slight change in usage post-quakes for the familiar white building in Montreal Street – from residential apartments to hotel – but the reno has been revolutionary, with the boutique hotel showcasing superb design and decadent furnishings.
JAILHOUSE BACKPACKERS People entering this building these days want to stay; the same probably couldn’t be said of potential guests when it opened as a prison in 1874. The pokey continued in its role for 125 years before becoming an award-winning accommodation provider.