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Quake presents extraordinary architectural opportunity – Parker

Saturday 26 Feb 2011 8:23 a.m.

By James Murray

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker managed five hours sleep last night, and say it is hard to get team members to go home.

"You get so wound up in what is happening, and so focussed on what is happening. It is very difficult to pull out sometimes."

He gave 3 News reporter Alistair Wilkinson an update on the Christchurch Girls High School building which was in danger of collapse last night.

He said he had an unconfirmed report there had been some collapse at the school.

As time goes by a number of buildings are turning up issues for the Urban Search and Rescue teams, which is resulting in access routes in the cordoned area becoming narrower.

"It's getting more difficult, more tortuous, to get around the city."

He said Christchurch's older masonry buildings have taken the brunt of the quakes damage, but it was concerning that more modern buildings had also "taken a bit of a pounding".

The City Art Gallery had performed very well, part of its brief was to provide alternative facilities for things like Civil Defence.

"It just shows that you can create buildings which offer a lot of protection for people."

Mayor Parker appeared to refute Earthquake Minister Gerry Brownlee's statement yesterday that liquefaction was not the worst manifestation that can occur after an earthquake.

"I guess in a technical sense, that may well be true," he said.

"Liquefaction is still a massive, massive problem."

"I think what the minister might be referring to... is that the quality of the soil, because of the shaking, is actually more densely packed. In terms of the remediation work that's a plus (for the future of Christchurch)."

He said Christchurch can be rebuilt, but the future held new opportunities for areas of the city to be quite different from the way they were before.

Entire city blocks may end up as bare ground, which was an extraordinary opportunity to build a city that was "more focussed on the needs of today and the future... as opposed to a city that was laid out in response to the needs of a world and life two centuries ago".

3 News 

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