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Goodbye PWC

The demise of a wonderful Christchurch high-rise building and the dawn of a new future, whatever that may be.

Like many companies based in the CBD in February 2011 we had to leave our beloved premises (The Price Waterhouse Coopers Building ‘PWC’).  As mentioned in our last newsletter we have been lucky to find offices in the Bishopdale Mall – office surrounded by mixed activities that give a greater sense of humanity than found purely industrial or commercial complexes, oh, and we have parking spaces!!

At the end of October 2011 we learned of the fate of the PWC and its imminent demolition.  It is sad to see such a fantastic office building lost to the earthquakes, as one person expressed ‘Thanks to the building for saving our lives’ but unfortunately nothing lasts forever or can withstand such forces indefinitely.

We have been involved with the survey monitoring of the PWC and have as part of our duties explored large parts of the building and thus been able to see the effectiveness of the design but also the destructive force of the earthquakes.

People are lamenting the demise of the high-rise and I for one enjoyed my time in the building but we are living in a new ‘normal’ where we now know we are in an earthquake prone area, globally the markets are not healthy and insurance money is not yet flowing.  The focus or challenge now for Christchurch is to reinvent itself.

Unlike Christchurch which has had demolition forced on it as a result of a natural disaster, Napoleon and Baron Haussmann flattened large portions of the old city of Paris and rebuilt it in their vision.  Paris is characterised by wide boulevards, buildings are largely four stories high, a city with the highest metropolitan density in Europe and is considered (rightly) one of the great cities of the world.

There should be little to no reason that provided the people of influence in the Christchurch rebuild and who make the big decisions do so wisely and with courage (for that is what it will take) can provide the basis for a truly lovely city.

It will also take (and no apologies for the repetition) the recurring theme that we bang away at here is; ‘Design should precede rules’ not the other way around! Let us sort out the goal before sorting out how we get there.