New growth rises out of historic ruin: Adaptive reuse of Christchurch Cathedral

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Guo, Taozhi
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Su, Bin
Jadresin-Milic, Renata
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
ChristChurch Cathedral (Christchurch, N.Z.)
Christchurch (N.Z.)
New Zealand
Christchurch rebuild
heritage conservation
Christchurch 2010-2011 earthquakes
civic centres
adaptive reuse of buildings
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Guo, T. (2021). New growth rises out of historic ruin: Adaptive reuse of Christchurch Cathedral. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How could the Christchurch Cathedral be rebuilt and adapted using contemporary technology to meet the demands of a modern society and economy? ABSTRACT: In New Zealand, in 2011, Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged in an earthquake. Before the 2011 earthquake, the Cathedral and Cathedral Square were the physical and social centre of Christchurch. For locals and tourists, Cathedral Square is not just a religious place, but also a centre of leisure and entertainment. But, for almost a decade after 2011, the site has been closed due to safety issues. Initially, Bishop Victoria Matthews decided the original Cathedral should be demolished and replaced with a new, contemporary design. But various groups opposed the intention of the church and, through negotiations, the Anglican Church finally decided in 2017 to reinstate the Cathedral using a combination of repair, restoration, reconstruction/rebuild and seismic strengthening. However, to restore the Cathedral to its original appearance using traditional technologies and materials is also a kind of damage to the history and memory of the Cathedral, because too much restoration work makes the line between the new and the old difficult to identify. And if the Cathedral is fully reconstructed or restored to its original form, will the history or the memory associated with the time of earthquake be ignored or reduced?
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