In February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the second largest town in New Zealand, causing utter destruction in its wake and was named the country’s ‘darkest day’.
4 years later and its impact on the people of Christchurch is still abundantly clear but despite this terrible event, the citizens were determined to re-build their once beautiful city into something even more magnificent.
One of the most treasured and historic structures in NZ that was unfortunately affected was the transitional Cathedral. It suffered terrible damage and any restoration seemed impossible with what was left behind. But, after some consideration, an extraordinary plan was drawn up that entailed, if you can believe it, a re-build using cardboard foundations.
This wasn’t the first innovate plan the people of Christchurch had in store. After the wake of the earthquake, the general consensus was to prevent the damage reoccurring. To prepare for such an event, a large office block, the collapse of which caused most of the fatalities, gained “19 very large ball bearings, so that in case of an earthquake it can move half a metre in any direction depending on the severity of the earthquake and then just gradually settle back into its right place.” This new addition will undoubtedly save lives in the event of another earthquake, regardless of its recorded magnitude.
Almost three-quarters of damaged roads, water pipes and sewage systems have been repaired but reconstruction work will almost certainly take more than a decade to complete. Despite this setback, the chief executive of the Canterbury Development Corporation, sees a light at the end of the tunnel with high expectations for the finished project, “It is all about that new Christchurch and how we make it exciting, and vibrant and attractive, and just the coolest little city in the world.”
After all, “In a time of destruction, create something.”
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