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Christchurch City Council Media Release 11 October 2001

Transformation of Historic Curator’s House Wins Architecture Award

A Christchurch City Council project that provides new life for the historic Curator’s House in the Botanic Gardens, has won a New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) Resene Local Award for Architecture.

The award was presented to Alec Bruce of Wilkie & Bruce Architects on 20 September.

The Curator’s House was built in 1920 as the residence of the Botanic Gardens’ curator. The building (which has a listed category two heritage status), and its grounds, underwent a lengthy renovation process. It reopened in June last year as an integrated restaurant and gardening education facility.

Design and construction work involved renovating the house to create more light and flow between indoor and outdoor dining areas, and extending the building to provide accommodation for a commercial kitchen. Outside the main house, a new summerhouse was built for gardening education demonstrations and workshops, and several outbuildings were added to provide storage for the restaurant and park.

The combined efforts of the Council, the Botanical Epicurean Company, and the Friends of the Gardens, have transformed this previously private corner of the gardens into an attractive asset for the people of Christchurch.

Judges commended Wilkie & Bruce Architects, Christchurch City Council (the building’s owners), and The Botanical Epicurean Company (the restaurant proprietor), for the careful reworking of the building, and wrote that:

"The building’s seismic strengthening and conversion to a new and commercially sustainable use have been carefully integrated, whilst maintaining the building’s historic qualities in a contemporary and refreshing manner".

The Friends of the Botanic Gardens have been responsible for developing the grounds around the Curator’s House into a home demonstration garden.

Included in Christchurch Heritage Week (12 to 19 October), is a Historic Walk of the Botanic Gardens, which will involve a visit to the Curator’s House.

Further information: Bill Binns, Property Asset Officer, Christchurch City Council, ph 379 1660 extension 8504.

Related informaiton: Heritage Week, Botanic Gardens

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