Christchurch’s Ferrier Fountain is nearly back in play almost 50 years after first taking the outdoor “stage”.
The aquatic artwork will reclaim the popular spot next to Victoria Square as part of the Town Hall’s extensive restoration.
Staff from contractor Hawkins have been busy testing the newly restored fountain over the past week ahead of the Town Hall reopening at the end of the month.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the return of the fountain to its rightful spot in the city marks another major step in the Town Hall rebuild.
“I am looking forward to the fountain’s return,” the Mayor says.
“I can remember seeing the famous El Alamein Fountain in Sydney when I was a child, and I thought that was amazing. However, only a few years later, when the Ferrier Fountain was revealed, it was even better.
“The fountain became one of the most iconic images of Christchurch and it is very special seeing it returned to our city.”
Installed in 1972, the three-head fountain and adjacent southern terraces were badly damaged during the 2010-11 earthquakes. However, the retaining wall was largely unaffected.
The original sphere and hemisphere heads and stalks have been reinstalled during the two-year fountain and terraces restoration project.
However, the dandelion-style modernist structure – complete with new lighting – has a fresh water setting. New ponds – made of reinforced concrete – now jut into the Avon River.
Stone “rip-rap” has also been placed against the exposed pond wall to create a more natural look.
Drainage systems have been installed while the new reinforced concrete terraces are clad with basalt and terracotta pavers.
Contractor Hawkins describes the restoration and rebuild of the Ferrier Fountain as “a major milestone for the Town Hall project and for the people of Christchurch”.
“Hawkins has been instrumental in restoring the fountain to its former glory,” Hawkins South Island Operations Manager Ian French says.
“From design to construction, the complexities have been challenging, but as the fountain is once again in use, the effort from the project team has been worth it.”
The fountain was donated by two of the city’s most well-known benefactors, Claude Jack Ferrier and his wife, Marjorie, the daughter of Robert McDougall.
Created by a British company called Ustigate, the “sphere de fleur” design features two spheres, and one hemisphere that sits just above the water line.