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List of tallest buildings in Christchurch facts for kids

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Christchurch high-rises v01
43 of the 51 Christchurch high-rises colour-coded as per the list below, with their status shown as of December 2020

This list of tallest buildings in Christchurch ranks high-rise buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand by height.

The first high-rise was Manchester Courts, which was the city's tallest building from 1906 until 1967. Manchester Courts was demolished following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake. Six more buildings have held the title of tallest building in Christchurch. The current tallest building is the Pacific Tower, which was finished in 2010 and rises to 86.5 metres (284 ft). Most of the high-rises were demolished following the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Of the 52 buildings in the list before the earthquakes, 17 are to remain, and 36 have already been demolished.

Background

This lists ranks Christchurch high-rises that stand at least 35 metres (115 ft) tall, based on standard height measurement. This includes spires and architectural details and include antenna masts.

Manchester Courts, earlier known as the MLC Building, was the city's first commercial high-rise building. Built in 1905–1906 for the New Zealand Express Company, it was at the time the tallest commercial building in Christchurch. A Category I heritage building since 1991, it suffered serious structural damage in the 2010 Canterbury earthquake and was condemned to be demolished. Demolition began on 19 October 2010, and was completed in February 2011.

Grand Chancellor-2
View of the Grand Chancellor from Cashel Street minutes after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake
Hagley Park 01
Aerial view of the central city in July 2012 looking west, with most of the earthquake-damaged tall buildings still standing; Manchester Street is at the bottom of the photo

The BNZ Building in Cathedral Square has one of the oldest histories of the buildings listed here, as it replaced the earlier BNZ Building from 1866. The replacement was begun in 1961 as a four-storey building designed by Christchurch architect G. W. Bucknell. Work ceased abruptly in 1963, when the bank announced that they would redevelop the whole site (which included the removal of the historic bank building) and incorporate the four-storey building into the high-rise. The 43 metres (141 ft) high-rise was designed by Sydney firm Stephenson and Turner and completed in 1967.

Since 2007 only three high-rises have been constructed in Christchurch: the HSBC Tower designed by Weirwalker Architecture in Worcester Boulevard, the Novotel Hotel in the Square, and Pacific Tower in Gloucester Street. All three buildings survived the earthquakes. The HSBC Tower, which first opened in 2009, was the first high-rise to open again after the February 2011 earthquake, with the first tenants moving back in on 30 May 2011. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority later moved into the top floors of the building, with CEO Roger Sutton's office the "highest office in town". Pacific Tower, which houses apartments and the Rendezvous Hotel, was repaired and reopened on 1 May 2013. The Novotel Hotel was repaired and reopened on 19 August 2013.

Radio Network House, a 14-storey building in Worcester Street that was finished in 1986, was imploded on 5 August 2012 and was New Zealand's first ever controlled building demolition by explosives.

The Clarendon Tower was built on the site of the former Clarendon Hotel and kept most of the historic hotel's façade, which was the first example of facadism in Christchurch. Designed by Warren and Mahoney, the high-rise was constructed in 1986/87. The 17-storey structure failed in the February 2011 earthquake, with the internal staircases collapsing and the building 'ballooning' in the middle by some 100 millimetres (3.9 in).

In three high-rises, internal staircases collapsed and occupants were trapped: Hotel Grand Chancellor, Forsyth Barr House, and Clarendon Tower. The staircase failures in the Grand Chancellor and the Clarendon Tower were only partial, whilst both staircases in the Forsyth Barr House collapsed from the 14th floor down. The Forsyth Barr House was sold "as is where is" in August 2014 to a local consortium who converted it into a 4.5 star hotel.

Central city seen from the Port Hills in December 2015 looking north, with most of the earthquake-damaged tall buildings demolished; the Civic Offices in Hereford Street are on the far left

Lists

Colour key      Building to remain after earthquakes      Building yet to be repaired      Building demolished since the earthquakes      New building

Tallest buildings

Rank Name Height
m (feet)
Floors Year Purpose Architect Builder Notes Refs
1 Pacific Tower, 166 Gloucester St 86.5 (284) 23 2010 Hotel/Residential Rob Campbell AMC Construction Reopened 1 May 2013
2 Crowne Plaza Hotel (former Forsyth Barr Building), 764 Colombo St 71 (233) 19 1989 Hotel Warren and Mahoney Paynter Construction Reopened 1 July 2017 as Crowne Plaza Hotel
3 Rydges Hotel (former Noah's), 170 Oxford Tce 60 (200) 15 1975 Hotel Donald Crone & Associates Fletcher Construction To be repaired
4 Waipapa formerly Acute Services Building, Christchurch Hospital, 2 Riccarton Ave 58.8 (193) 10 2018 Hospital Katoa Health Schick Construction for earthworks and CPD Construction for tower Tallest building completed since the earthquakes
5 James Hight Building, University of Canterbury, 20 Kirkwood Ave 53 (174) 11 1974 Library/Office Ministry of Works Williams Construction Reopened 2013
6 Novotel Hotel, 50 Cathedral Sq 51.6 (169) 14 2010 Hotel Dalman Architecture Fletcher Construction Reopened 19 August 2013
7 Distinction Hotel (formerly the Millennium Christchurch), 14 Cathedral Sq 51.2 (168) 14 1974 Hotel Hank Henning Fletcher Construction Reopened 6 March 2018
8 University of Otago, Christchurch Medical School, 2 Riccarton Ave 50 (160) 12 1973 School Ministry of Works Fletcher Construction Reopened 2013
9 Anthony Harper Tower (Former HSBC Club Tower), 62 Worcester Blvd 43.2 (142) 12 2010 Office Weirwalker Architecture Hawkins Construction Reopened 30 May 2011
10 Telecom Building, 31 Cathedral Sq 42.4 (139) 12 1992 Office Griffith Moffat and Partners Hawkins Construction Partially reopened
11 Oxford Apartments, 66 Oxford Tce 40 (130) 12 2005 Residential Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd To be repaired
12 Christchurch Women's Hospital 38 (125) 9 2005 Hospital Ministry of Works Hawkins Construction Reopened
13 Christchurch Civic Offices (former Post Centre), 53 Hereford St 36.6 (120) 8 1981 Office Athfield Architects Hawkins Construction Reopened October 2011
14 State Insurance Building, 116 Worcester St 35.6 (117) 10 1970 Office Collins & Son W. Williamson & Sons To be repaired
15 Christchurch Hospital, Riverside Block 35.5 (116) 8 1973 Hospital Ministry of Works Fletcher Construction Reopened
16 161 Hereford Suites (former Harmony Towers), 161 Hereford St 35.2 (115) 10 1988 Hotel Gabites Porter & Partners Highcroft Properties To be repaired
17 The Gloucester, 28 Gloucester St 35 (115) 10 1991 Residential Wilkie & Bruce C. S. Luney Ltd Open

Tallest buildings prior to the February 2011 earthquake

Rank Name Height
m (feet)
Floors Year Purpose Architect Builder Notes Refs
1 Pacific Tower, 166 Gloucester St 86.5 (284) 23 2010 Hotel/Residential Rob Campbell AMC Construction Reopened 1 May 2013
2 Hotel Grand Chancellor, 161 Cashel St 85 (279) 20 1986 Hotel Warren and Mahoney Forbes Construction Demolished 2012
3 PricewaterhouseCoopers, 118 Armagh St 76.3 (250) 21 1990 Office Wilkie & Bruce Wilkins & Davies Construction Demolished 2012
4 Forsyth Barr Building, 764 Colombo St 71 (233) 19 1989 Office Warren and Mahoney Paynter Construction Reopened 1 July 2017 as Crowne Plaza Hotel
5 Clarendon Tower, 78 Worcester St 67.7 (222) 18 1988 Office Warren and Mahoney Paynter Construction Demolished 2012
6 Radio Network House, 155 Worcester St 61 (200) 14 1986 Office Sheppard & Rout Forbes Construction Imploded on 5 August 2012
7 Rydges Hotel (former Noah's), 170 Oxford Tce 60 (200) 15 1975 Hotel Donald Crone & Associates Fletcher Construction To be repaired
8 Holiday Inn (former Centra), Cnr High and Cashel Sts 60 (200) 15 1988 Hotel Peter Beaven C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
9 Westpac Canterbury Centre, cnr High and Cashel Sts 55.1 (181) 13 1983 Office Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
10 James Hight Building, University of Canterbury, 20 Kirkwood Ave 53 (174) 11 1974 Library Ministry of Works Williams Construction Reopened 2013
11 Christchurch Central Police Station, 48 Hereford St 52 (171) 13 1973 Office Ministry of Works architects W. Williamsom & Sons Imploded on 31 May 2015
12 Victoria Square Tower (The Rutherford), 100 Armagh St 51.8 (170) 15 2006 Residential Buchan Group Hawkins Construction Demolished 2014
13 Novotel Hotel, 50 Cathedral Sq 51.6 (169) 14 2010 Hotel Dalman Architecture Fletcher Construction Reopened 19 August 2013
14 Heritage Hotel, 28–30 Cathedral Sq 51.6 (169) 12 1971 Hotel Forbes Construction Demolished 2013
15 Millennium Christchurch, 14 Cathedral Sq 51.2 (168) 14 1974 Hotel Hank Henning Fletcher Construction Undergoing repairs
16 University of Otago, Christchurch Medical School, 2 Riccarton Ave 50 (160) 12 1973 School Ministry of Works Fletcher Construction Reopened 2013
17 Crowne Plaza, cnr Kilmore and Durham Sts 45 (148) 12 1988 Hotel Warren and Mahoney Fletcher Construction Demolished 2012
18 Gallery Apartments, 62 Gloucester St 43.6 (143) 12 2007 Residential Wilson & Hill Hawkins Construction Demolished 2012
19 HSBC Building (Club Tower), 62 Worcester Blvd 43.2 (142) 12 2010 Office Weirwalker Architecture Hawkins Construction Reopened 30 May 2011
20 BNZ Building, 129 Hereford St 43 (141) 12 1967 Office Stephenson & Turner P.D. Graham & Co. Demolished 2017
21 Anthony Harper House (former AMP Building), 47 Cathedral Sq 42.7 (140) 12 1975 Office Donald Crone & Associates C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
22 Telecom Building, 31 Cathedral Sq 42.4 (139) 12 1992 Office Griffith Moffat and Partners Hawkins Construction Partially reopened
23 BNZ Building, 137 Armagh St 40.6 (133) 11 1985 Office Trengrove and Blunt C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2013
24 Avalon Apartments, 41 Cambridge Terrace 40 (130) 13 2003 Residential Naylor Love Demolished
25 Oaks iStay Hotel, 187 Cashel St 40 (130) 12 2006 Hotel Warren and Mahoney Naylor Love Construction Demolished 2015
26 Bridgewater Apartments, 62 Cashel St 40 (130) 12 1997 Residential Warren and Mahoney Mainzeal Construction Demolished
27 Oxford Apartments, 66 Oxford Tce 40 (130) 12 2005 Residential Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd To be repaired
28 Manchester Courts, 158–160 Manchester Street 39.6 (130) 12 1906 Office Luttrell Brothers Demolished 2010/11
29 Te Waipounamu House (former Reserve Bank Building), 158 Hereford St 39.6 (130) 10 1964 Office Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2013
30 Craigs Investments (former Langwood House), 90 Armagh St 38.9 (128) 10 1987 Office Sheppard & Rout Lund Construction Demolished 2013
31 Christchurch Women's Hospital 38 (125) 9 2005 Hospital Ministry of Works Hawkins Construction Reopened
32 Christchurch Civic Offices (former Postal Centre), 53 Hereford St 36.6 (120) 8 1981 Office Athfield Architects Hawkins Construction Reopened October 2011
33 Westminster House, 202 Cashel St 35.8 (117) 10 1978 Office Warren and Mahoney Williams Construction Demolished 2012
34 State Insurance Building, 116 Worcester St 35.6 (117) 10 1970 Office Collins & Son W. Williamson & Sons To be repaired
35 Christchurch Hospital, Riverside Block 35.5 (116) 8 1973 Hospital Ministry of Works Fletcher Construction Reopened
36 161 Hereford Suites (former Harmony Towers), 161 Hereford St 35.2 (115) 10 1988 Hotel Gabites Porter & Partners Highcroft Properties To be repaired
37 Tower Insurance (former Government Life Building), 69 Cathedral Sq 35 (115) 10 1963 Office Collins & Son C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2014
38 Copthorne Hotel, 335 Durham St 35 (115) 11 1986 Hotel Williams Construction Demolished 2011
39 NZI House, 96 Hereford St 35 (115) 10 1986 Office Wilson & Hill Paynter & Hamilton Ltd Demolished 2012
40 SBS House (former Manchester Unity Building), 180 Manchester St 35 (115) 10 1967 Office Peter Beaven Fletcher Construction Demolished 2011
41 Brannigans Building (former DFC Building), 86 Gloucester St 35 (115) 10 1987 Office Warren and Mahoney Forbes Construction Demolished 2012
42 Copthorne Hotel (former Ramada Inn), 776 Colombo St 35 (115) 10 1972 Hotel Peter Beaven Fletcher Construction Demolished 2013
43 The Gloucester, 28 Gloucester St 35 (115) 10 1991 Residential Wilkie & Bruce C. S. Luney Ltd Open
44 National Bank, 164 Hereford St 35 (115) 10 1980 Office Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
45 National Insurance Building, 217 Gloucester St 35 (115) 10 1971 Office Warren and Mahoney Wilkins and Davies Construction Demolished 2012
46 AMI Insurance, 29–35 Latimer Sq 35 (115) 10 1972 Office Warren and Mahoney C. S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
47 Heatherlea Apartment, 10 Ayr St 35 (115) 10 1987 Residential Wilkie & Bruce Wilkins & Davies Construction Demolished 2012
48 Westpark Tower, 56 Cashel St 35 (115) 10 1987 Office Sheppard & Rout Hanham & Phillip Demolished 2012
49 Terrace on the Park Apartments, 80 Park Terrace 35 (115) 10 2000 Residential Thom Craig Mainzeal Construction Demolished 2012
50 Farmers Car Park Building, 194 Oxford Terrace 35 (115) 10 1998 Retail & car parking Ian Krause Lund Construction Demolished 2013
51 The Millbrook Apartments, 21–23 Carlton Mill Rd 35 (115) 10 1965 Residential Don Donnithorne C.S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012
52 The Establishment, 52 Peterborough St 35 (115) 11 2004 Residential Warren and Mahoney C.S. Luney Ltd Demolished 2012

Proposed buildings

Name Height

m (feet)

Floors Year Purpose Notes Refs
Cathedral Towers, 26 Cathedral Square 52.9m 12 and 15 2017 Residential One tower will be for holiday apartments
New Building 12 2019 Office Replacement building for the Grant Thornton Building
Holiday Inn Express, 160 Gloucester Street 14 2018 Hotel $30 million development
The Peterborough, Cnr Peterborough and Durham Street 10 2018 Hotel $85 million development
Verve Precinct, 52 Peterborough Street 11 2017 Residential On site of The Establishment
West Kilmore, 52 Kilmore Street 11 and 9 2017 Residential

Timeline of tallest buildings

This is a list of the history of the tallest buildings in Christchurch, showing those buildings that once held the title of tallest building in chronological order.

     Building remaining after earthquakes      Building demolished since the earthquakes

Name Image Years as tallest Height
m / feet
Reference
Manchester Courts Flickr - jabbapablo - Old-School building ^1.jpg 1906–1967 39.6 m (130 ft)
BNZ Building BNZ Cathedral Square 12.JPG 1967–1973 43 m (141 ft)
Christchurch Central Police Station Christchurch Central police station 2890 02.JPG 1973–1974 52 m (171 ft)
James Hight Building UC CentralLibrary01 gobeirne.jpg 1974–1975 53 m (174 ft)
Rydges Hotel (former Noah's) Rydges, Christchurch 01.JPG 1975–1986 60 m (200 ft)
Hotel Grand Chancellor Grand Chancellor-2.jpg 1986–2010 85 m (279 ft)
Pacific Tower Pacific Tower, Christchurch 06.JPG 2010–present 86.5 m (284 ft)
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