A Breath of Fresh Air


Put your walking shoes on, and explore the inner city this summer. Architect Cymon Allfrey shares his must-walk route.

The end of one year, and the beginning of the next is always a time to reflect on what has been and look forward to what is to come. When it comes to our cityscape and built environment the best way to do this is by foot. In past years I have suggested this is done following key roads, from one building to another. This year however the route is dictated by public art.

Our public art works allow us to connect with different parts of our city; providing aspirational focus points. Yes they are significant investments for our city, but they need to be viewed as an asset to the city and considered, and appreciated, for their ability to create joy and surprise.

So armed with the Scape Public Art 2016 Map (downloadable from their website or via the App Store), let us begin this year’s city walk.


  1. Judy Millar, Call Me Snake – Corner of New Regent and Armagh Streets

This is a part of the city that has a real buzz to it. There is character and atmosphere and plenty of places in which to stop, relax and engage with the city. Judy Millar’s nine metre sculpture, Call Me Snake, is the piece that got me thinking about the role art has played in the redevelopment and building of Christchurch. The view from New Regent Street is all the more positive and engaging that it is centered around something bold, colourful and interesting. Rather than simply a barren site or broken building.


  1. Anthony Gormley, Stay – Durham Street

Dedicating some time to experience Anthony Gormley’s Stay in the Avon River is a must, and while you are there turn around and see part of the inner city that is complete. Offering plenty to discuss when it comes to debating architectural styles, it is incredibly encouraging to see the activity that is happening along this major route through the city. It is an indication of the flourishing and vibrant city we will become.


  1. Regan Gentry, Flour Power – Corner of Hereford and High Streets

From Stay, we cross the river and head to Regan Gentry’s Flour Power. Installed in 2008 this piece brings a sense of pre-quake familiarity to an otherwise unrecognizable landscape. The anchor of this area is the new ANZ Centre. The first major building to be complete in this section of the city, it has rejuvenated an area that had become dormant. A stone’s throw from rebuilding of The Crossing this is without a doubt the spot to watch in 2017 as fashion outlets, eateries and more, start to reopen and bring life back to this part of the city.


  1. Phil Price, Nucleus – Corner of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets

Continue down High Street to one of the cornerstones of Christchurch’s public art, Nucleus by Phil Price. At the heart of this area of the city, this sculpture has an impressive presence and is perfectly poised at the gateway to the Innovation Precinct. A year ago I wrote about this area being one to watch, now it is happening. C4 Café has been a stalwart of the area and have been joined by a number of others all fuelled by the big developments: Environment Canterbury, Vodafone, the Bus Exchange. Which have paved the way for the smaller scale businesses to pop up. Like a forest, the big trees have grown, establishing a safe and sheltered space in which the forest floor can come alive.


  1. Anton Parsons, Passing Time ­– Corner St Asaph and Madras Streets

The last point on our walk is Passing Time by Anton Parsons. Installed only a few days before the February 22 Earthquake this sculpture is located at a critical intersection in the future of our city. It is where the frame of the inner city ends and hence is set to become an area of mixed use development, catering for apartment living and the needs of the artistic communities that already call this area home. Set to become a hot-spot for entertainment and night life, this will be an exciting area to watch unfold.

Published in Metropol Magazine

Published on Thursday, January 19th, 2017