After the 'quake: Christchurch reborn

Published: 17 June 2014
After the 'quake: Christchurch reborn

What comes down must go up again: Nazareth House, Christchurch, New Zealand has secured the necessary permits and reconstruction has begun

Nazareth House, Christchurch, New Zealand had to be razed to the ground after the massive earthquake in February 2011 that forced evacuation of the entire centre of Christchurch and killed 185 people.  Nazareth House, a sprawling single-story modern building, superficially appeared to have survived without much damage. 

But closer inspection revealed that the process of 'liquefaction', in which huge volumes of grey sand mixed with water oozed out of cracks in the ground, had eroded the foundations, cracking the concrete plinth on which the building sat and rendering it unsafe: one corridor was 1.5 metres lower at one end than at the other. 

The separate, older chapel had some very visible cracks and threatened to slide into the creek that forms the border of the site on that side.

Fortunately the insurance company eventually paid up and the re-build could begin - in principle.  It has taken three years to get to the point at which, with A$8m spent stabilising the ground, all the necessary permissions, registrations and approvals have been secured and the first dwellings can be put in place  - constructed off-site and each assembled on-site in 16 weeks. 

These are villas designed for sale to older people - the start of a retirement village or, in the words of the Australasian Region, 'the Nazareth community of care'.  Proceeds from sales will supplement insurance monies to enable the re-building of the main care home, with 80 beds, together with a 20-bed dementia unit, a new chapel and other facilities.

The first villas are expected to be ready for occupation towards the end of 2014, with the entire site to be completed in 2016. 

Find  more information here.



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