Story: City planning

Clarendon Hotel facade

Clarendon Hotel facade

Deregulation of the financial markets in the 1980s led to a commercial building boom in the centres of the main cities. With few regulations to protect them, many historic buildings were demolished and replaced with high-rise office buildings, often of little architectural merit. But a proposal to demolish Christchurch’s Clarendon Hotel (built in 1903) met strong opposition. It had been the city’s plushest hotel, with guests including the Queen and the Beatles, and was widely admired for its neoclassical design. The city council persuaded the developer to keep two of the building’s facades and erect an office tower behind them. It was the city’s first – but not last – example of facadism. The 17-storey building was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and was demolished in February 2013.

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Photograph by Rosemary Du Plessis

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'City planning - Planning renaissance', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 May 2022)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 11 Mar 2010, updated 26 Mar 2015