3 May 2022

Christchurch was buzzing over the weekend as residents and visitors turned out in force for the second annual Te Pūtahi Open Christchurch festival of architecture.

A range of building styles, ages and uses were on offer with mid-century Christchurch Modern buildings proving popular, as was the Bull O’Sullivan designed educational building, Te Hohepa Kōhanga Reo.

Over 900 people turned up to gain insight into life on the inside at a Victorian Gothic Revival gaol.

Another firm favourite was Wood’s Mill, a Victorian industrial gem in Addington which had well over 600 visits on the Sunday alone, while behind-the-fences tours of the Christ Church Cathedral booked out within 20 minutes of the bookings opening.

The public appreciated the predominantly walk-up nature of the open buildings, where people could just turn up on the day.

Taking advantage of this was attendee Anna-Marie Harrison, who made her way around a range of buildings in the central city by bike.

Midc-century Modern buildings were popular at this year's festival.

“The festival is just fabulous. I like that you can just turn up. I have seen buildings I didn’t even know were there, like the chapel at The Community of the Sacred Name - an absolute treasure that should be celebrated.” 

Another attendee, Ken McAnergney, was delighted by the range of special spaces included in the programme.

 "We are blessed to have these treasures left to us by our ancestors. To have them recognised, celebrated.”

Te Pūtahi - Centre for Architecture & City-Making, the organisation behind Open Christchurch, has been delighted with the public’s response.

“It was such a privilege to be able to hold a festival at this time,” Director Jessica Halliday says.

“The fact that people so eagerly embraced the opportunity to get out and experience some exceptional works of architecture has been wonderful to see.

“We’re very grateful that all our collaborators, those who have been happy to share these special buildings with people, stayed the course through the uncertainties and challenges of the last few months.

“Christchurch has a lot to offer, and it’s so exciting that people want to celebrate the city’s special buildings and well-designed landscapes and public spaces.” 

Open Christchurch will be back next year on 6 and 7 May for another weekend-long festival showcasing some of Ōtautahi’s best architecture.