History & heritage  |  27 Aug 2020

When the Thomas Edmonds Band Rotunda reopens to the public it will have roll-up panel screens to enclose and protect it from the weather.

The heritage band rotunda, which was quake-damaged, is currently being restored and reinstated on the banks of the Avon River, along Cambridge Tce.

At a meeting today Christchurch City Council's Sustainability and Community Resilience Committee was told that using glass to enclose the structure would add extra weight to the building in an area known to be susceptible to ground movement during a major earthquake.

Instead, Council staff are planning to use transparent roll-up panel screens, which are much lighter and still provide protection from the weather.  

"Weatherproofing the rotunda in this way will make it safer and more enjoyable for people to use," says Committee Chair Sara Templeton. "The heritage of the building will still be preserved and the roll-up screens are a practical and functional addition."

The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust (CEAT) has granted $1 million towards the rotunda’s $1.5 million restoration which includes the retractable screens and landscaping the site.

The rotunda was built in 1929 as a gift to the city from businessman and philanthropist Thomas Edmonds, of "Sure to Rise" baking powder and cookbook fame, to mark his 50 years of business in the city. It was designed in high renaissance style by city architect Victor Hean and has a 70-tonne copper sheathed dome.

The project is due for completion at the end of April 2021 and the reinstated rotunda will reopen as a space that can be used for performances, wedding photos or for people to sit and eat their lunch. 

The Council has also restored a number of other Edmonds-funded landmarks in the River Precinct, near the Margaret Mahy Playground.