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Sir Miles Warren’s College House Roof being Deconstructed

News Release: V3 28 April 2014

Sir Miles Warren’s College House Roof being Deconstructed
- Rebuild of Main Block begins

Sir Miles Warren’s famous WM–shaped roof is being carefully deconstructed at Christchurch’s College House over the university’s Easter break. Designed by the architectural firm Warren and Mahoney in the 1960s, Sir Miles has described College House’s quad as the firm’s “finest space” and its chapel as “their best room”. Located in Ilam’s Waimairi Road, College House is an independent hall of residence for University of Canterbury students.

College House principal Laraine Sharr says, “Since the 2011 earthquakes, our dining hall, kitchen and eight student bedrooms have been yellow-stickered, as has our beautiful chapel. For the past three years the dining hall has been temporarily relocated to the recreation room, the kitchen has operated out of a large tent in the quad and eight study bedrooms have been unoccupied.

“Having recently settled our insurance claim, we’re starting on the demolition and rebuild of the southern part of our Main Block that will take it to 100% of the current building standard. The insurance proceeds will cover only some of the rebuild. To help make up the shortfall we’re embarking on a fundraising campaign to help cover the rebuild costs.

“Over the holidays the WM-shaped roof is being taken apart piece-by-piece and it will be reinstated over the rebuilt dining hall later this year. When the rebuild is completed we‘ll have a larger dining hall and there will be a modern commercial kitchen – the old one dated from 1966. We’re also adding another seven study bedrooms and some bathrooms to have a total of 15 students living in Main Block. The rebuild will be completed in time for the 2015 academic year,” says Mrs Sharr.

The Main Block rebuild is designed by Christchurch architect Alec Bruce from Wilkie + Bruce. Retaining the original design, College House’s new frontage on Waimairi Road will look very much the same as it is now. Warren and Mahoney won the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ (NZIA) Gold Medal in 1969 for their work on College House and then won the NZIA Enduring Award in 1999.

“The actual demolition of the south end of Main Block is currently underway and should be completed in the next two weeks. When our students return for Term 2, there will be as little disruption as possible, although it will be a somewhat messy eight months during the rebuild. But we are all very much looking forward to 2015 and having the dining hall back in action, the recreation room can reclaim its space below the library, the kitchen staff are all very keen to be out of the marquee in the quad, and we will welcome 15 additional students into College House,” concludes Mrs Sharr.


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