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Christchurch Buildings

Architecture Affects My Soul

Christchurch Buildings

Above are two of the new central-city buildings going up in post-quake Christchurch – the city whose plan was that we be a “city in a garden“.

Even if “soul” is a metaphor for you, I posit that our physical environment affects us. Steel, glass, tilt-slab, reinforced concrete, and the occasional planter box, with hardly a pointy roof or curve in sight, and canyons of shadowed, windy streets, and some green paint on the tar seal as a safe, “green” bicycle way is not really what sprang to my mind at least…

Is it really that much more expensive to add some pointy bits and curves? To set buildings slightly back off the footpath so that some trees fit in that gap? Or are our architects so committed to the post-modern doctrine that function be visible, and nothing is hidden by facades – including the incessant reminder into the next decades, by every diagonal metal girder, that we have endured the quakes, and may do so again at any moment?


Merivale New Church

Replaces this:

Old Merivale Church

And this:


has been announced will replace this (image source):

Baptist Church before quakes

The architect says he was inspired by the concept of a monastery.

I am heartened by the news that Manchester Street will be turned into a widened tree-lined boulevard.

In the five years since the quakes, no new Anglican church building plans have been revealed.

This post, in a Throw-back-Thursday sort of way, encourages those interested to reflect further on what is placed within the worship space, but I add the extra dimension that, whilst the church is the people, and the building is there to stop the church (ie. the people) from getting wet – the building affects us as well…

And don’t forget the tag “architecture” leads to other associated posts.

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5 thoughts on “Architecture Affects My Soul”

  1. I think that some of the issue with small buildings in your 1st photo is that the building meets the needs of the owner. They have a lot of a certain size and no extra funds to purchase more land that would allow the set backs necessary for the human scale and the garden settings you would like to see.

    I don’t find either the old or the new church very attractive!

    Why are all of those cars facing the wrong direction? 😀

    1. You are quite right, David, money is the driver in “secular” buildings. As for the direction of the cars – we didn’t follow Napoleon’s battle trick, and when we wield our sword or our lance from our metal horse we still do so on the right hand side 😉 Easter Season Blessings.

  2. Thanks for this Church architecture reflection Bosco, and for so much else that has inspired and challenged me over the ten years (this month) since the launch of liturgy.co.nz. Gratefully – and fraternally – John

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, John. Much appreciated. As is all you do, including online. Easter Season Blessings.

  3. Whit Johnstone

    Just so that other curious people have an easier time than I did- the first churches pictured are the old and new homes of the Chinese Methodist Church in Merivale NZ.

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