The collection of buildings which form the original town site of the University of Canterbury still hold a special place in the hearts of many former staff and students. Canterbury College started out with just one ‘temporary’ tin shed for a laboratory in 1877, but as the College grew, so too did the College buildings. By 1973, when the town site officially became the Arts Centre, the campus included 32 buildings and additions, not to mention the temporary structures that had come and gone. Amongst them are a number buildings that have become an essential part of architectural and cultural landscape of Ōtautahi Christchurch.
By the 1950s, as student numbers and departments grew, attention turned towards expanding the University on a new site. The idea of a purpose-built campus in the suburbs was very forward-looking, but at the same time very controversial, as it involved the loss of the university in the heart of the city. Ultimately, the decision was made to move the entire University to the Ilam campus, with the final department vacating the city site in 1975.
- Chemistry staff and students in the main laboratory, image courtesy of COGS