Christchurch Art Gallery


The Greenstone Group won the project management of the repair and reinstatement of the Christchurch Art Gallery at tender in November 2012.

The Christchurch Art Gallery suffered extensive damage as result of seismic action in the 22nd February earthquake and reopened on 19 December 2015.

When Greenstone went in our lead project manager stated:

“My first impressions when I came onsite to Christchurch Art Gallery were almost of sadness. When you get into a building of such public significance and see it standing empty with the art held in one room, contained and stacked, it brought home the massive impact that the earthquakes have had on the community as a whole. My immediate reaction was that it’s such a shame to see a building of this size sitting there empty. It probably reflects the city centre as a whole—it was empty, and needed to be brought back to life.”

Built in 2003, the building had minor damage from the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. However, areas of ground beneath the 33,000 tonne building liquefied and resettled unevenly, requiring a significant programme of repairs.

Since the February 2011 earthquake the landmark building at the edge of Christchurch’s historic cultural precinct has operated as an emergency headquarters for civil defense and provided temporary accommodation for Christchurch City Council staff.

Within the constraints of the allocated budget the Christchurch City Council required that the following objectives needed to be achieved:

  • Reinstatement of the Art Gallery to its August 2010 condition;
  • Improvement in seismic resilience; and
  • General betterment in light of operational experience.

Greenstone Group managed this process, which included tendering and implementation to re-level the building, using highly technical jet grouting technology. As a result, the gallery has returned to its pre-earthquake condition, reducing stresses in the structure caused by differential settlement, and re-levelling the building.

Phase one of the programme was to re-level the structure. Piles were formed under the foundations and filled with grout, slowly raising the building up.

In April 2014 base-isolation work began. Large bearings were installed between the building and its foundations, effectively allowing the building to float on its foundations in the event of an earthquake, significantly reducing the seismic stress on the building and its contents.

Greenstone Group also managed the insurance claim on the building at the same time as tracking all costs to ensure they were allocated correctly.  The allocation of funds and budgets is also a critical part of the project management of the contract ensuring the councils procurement and reporting structures are adhered to.

Following seismic strengthening and retrospective base-isolation, it’s now being billed as one of the safest and most earthquake-resilient galleries in the world.  The project commenced the construction of retrofitted base isolation, the general remediation earthquake repairs and some additional building improvements.  Greenstone Group’s involvement has been constant over the years as outlined in the Christchurch Art Gallery Bulletin.

Newshub state that “Following seismic strengthening and retrospective base-isolation, it’s now being billed as one of the safest and most earthquake-resilient galleries in the world.”

Upon completion of the project our lead project manager shared his thoughts:

“When it was unveiled, it was a very uplifting moment for everyone involved. It sends a message not only to Christchurch but to the project team. We all need to pull together and look at the positives, and when you have that literally written over your head it drives it home.”