One interesting thing about the internet and the modern age, is that it’s now possible for me to look at some of the goings-on in Christchurch, New Zealand and the earthquake recovery via web-cams whilst sitting at home in the evenings in the Netherlands.
The Christchurch Casino (housed in what used to be the old bus depot building) has one such webcam on the side of the building and at the beginning of this year I first logged on to see the hotel in the initial stages , not of demolition but of preparation of demolition.
This preparation involved stripping the interior of the building of as many of the chattels as possible and then removal of any recyclable material: glass windows were stripped out, pipework, electrics etc.
Since a good deal of this work took place inside the building, I saw little progress from the outside at first, but in March when the windows started disappearing from the five top floors (Lead photo) it was clear that things were going to hot up on the web-cam images. I started making screen-shots from the casino’s web cam, and the following photos are the result.
I took the screen-shots mostly in the Dutch evenings so with the 12 hour time difference it was already early the next morning in New Zealand, but on occasion I was up early enough on a Dutch morning to catch a shots of the building on a New Zealand late summer evening.
Window removal intensifies…
Almost no glass remaining… Photo taken on 7th April 2012.
I stupidly thought that I wouldn’t need to look at the web-cam every day, I mean how fast would it go? Needless to say I got a shock when I logged on just five days later and saw this photo… these demo guys don’t hang around. Photo taken 12th April 2012.
Following Photo taken 13th April 2012.
Following Photo taken 14th April 2012.
Following Photo taken 15th April 2012.
Following Photo taken 16th April 2012. Other central city buildings behind the Crown Plaza (also being demolished) come into view.
Following Photo taken 20th April 2012. In the centre background I can see the blue-grey hues of the Bank of New Zealand building on the south side of Cathedral Square, which featured at the end of a previous blog post here:
I think the taller building to the left of the BNZ might be the Christchurch Millenium Hotel, but it’s hard to tell from looking at it in it’s stripped out state because it now looks like a tall grey ice-cube container … it was previously white in colour I think.
Following Photo taken 22nd April 2012.
Following Photo taken 23rd April 2012. The tallest building in the background at right is the Clarendon Towers, featured in a previous post here: http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=clarendon
Following Photo taken 24th April 2012.
Following Photo taken 26th April 2012. The 17 story blue / grey building third from left in the background is the Forsyth Barr Building, an investment bank. In spite of extensive damage and having some of it’s staircase collapse, engineers have said it’s repairable so it will probably be one of the only high-rise buildings left in Christchurch once the demolitions around it have finished.
Following Photo taken 21st June 2012. By now most of the rubble has been cleared and the view from the web-cam has reverted back to be more like the views as it was in the early 1980′s before the Parkroyal / Crown Plaza went up.
At the left of the photo is a clearer view of the main auditorium , part of the Christchurch Town Hall… it’s fate is as yet undecided whilst the extensive damage is being assessed. It was announced that none of the complex would be open in 2012. What’s next, who knows.
… finally a shot of the casino where the web-cam was mounted…
After this date the web-cam was switched off, probably because there wasn’t anything left to see with regards to the Crown Plaza Hotel. For me that’s rather a shame because I could have now watched the ongoing work on the other buildings in the background.
The Crown Plaza has met it’s end… the city is literally picking up the pieces and starting again. In future trips to Christchurch I will document the rise of buildings in the place of all these vanishing landmarks… or will they just be left as open spaces? Time will tell.
Like it or not this is a little snippet of Christchurch’s history. Life goes on. One chapter closes, another begins.