More than two years after the earthquake that devastated the Christchurch, the New Zealand city’s Cathedral Square has now reopened.
The restored city square was officially unveiled on Saturday (6 July 2013), marking one of the final stages in Christchurch’s repair and rebuilding programme.
And to mark the city’s resurgence, Christchurch City Council has also launch the Transitional Square project, which will see the Cathedral Square transformed into cultural centre, with art installations, performance space and new seating areas. The Square has also been equipped with new public facilities and vegetation.
Christchurch Mayor, Bob Parker, said he wanted the revamped Cathedral Square to be a “focal point of activity”.
“It is important we set the right tone in creating a welcoming area that represents the history of the Square and that is sympathetic to the scale of the disaster and the rebuild job ahead,” Parker said.
The Square will now showcase a collection of artworks and installations including a number of large panels on fences. The artworks will be accompanied by information on each artist, along with interpretation panels.
Christchurch’s Cathedral Square, and its century-old cathedral, were partially destroyed when the city was struck by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011, which killed at least 181 people.
The re-opening of Cathedral Square follows the removal of the Red Zone cordon last week – another major milestone in the city’s recovery.
The New Zealand Defence Force had staged its longest ever domestic deployment in the city, manning the cordon around the city centre for 857 days since the earthquake. With the official cordon now gone, large parts of the city, including Cathedral Square, are now open to the public.