Local property developer NewUrban Group is delivering on its plans to restore original historic artefacts in a new-to-market luxury apartment complex in central Christchurch. The Group purchased the Cranmer Court site in 2015 to make way for its new $75 million 39-apartment residential development, Cranmer Gardens.
Cranmer Court, located on the corner of Kilmore, Montreal and Peterborough streets, was one of the city’s architectural landmarks made famous by the striking gothic features of the former Christchurch Normal School constructed in 1876. The buildings were turned into apartments in the 1980s and then demolished after the earthquakes. Fifty truckloads of the original building’s Halswell stone will be used to construct the outer walls of the new Cranmer Gardens complex.
Seven townhouses originally designed by Sheppard and Rout in the 1980s, and two free-standing villas will also be restored and retained. Former Christchurch Mayor and chairman of NewUrban Group Sir Bob Parker said the return of original materials to Cranmer Gardens marked an elegant restoration of the city’s heritage. The spacious apartment complex marks a successful collaboration between prominent Christchurch-based MAP Architects and NewUrban Group.
The Group comprises Parker, Canterbury businessmen Bert Govan and John Fairhall, and Wang Jianping from Beijing-based Huadu International Construction Group. “There’s a lot of criticism that Christchurch will just be a glass and concrete city. We wanted to show respect to the history of the Cranmer Court site and we are passionate about maintaining links to the past,” says Parker.
MAP Architects director Kerry Mason embraced this project wholeheartedly, saying: “This is the design I am most proud of – I feel like Cranmer Gardens is my legacy to Christchurch. It has been a privilege to work on a site as special as Cranmer Court.” The design has an elegance and simplicity which pays homage to the rich history of the original building, which was listed as a Category I historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1991.
Architecturally, the most striking feature of the development is the combination between old and new – an acknowledgement of heritage in new architectural forms. The use of a rotunda on the corner of Peterborough and Montreal streets is a stunning reference to the octagon that was previously there. The rotunda with its large floor to ceiling windows will be a remarkable feature in the master bedroom and central living area of some apartments.
Contemporary architecture complements the spacious footprint afforded by each of the high-spec single level apartments. Each apartment comes with two or three bedrooms, an expansive private balcony and large windows to provide an abundance of natural light and all day sun. The three bedroom penthouses with large outdoor spaces and stunning views will be double the size of an average New Zealand house. Construction will commence in April 2018, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. Source and images, Courtesy of NewUrban Group.