Canterbury College

Learning by Design: Building Canterbury College in the City 1873-1973. An illustrated history based on the Armson Collins Architectural Drawings Collection


The history of the University of Canterbury is one that started with a grand vision, embedded in the ideals which led to the formation of the Province of Canterbury itself. It began life in 1873 as Canterbury College, home to just 87 students, and affiliated to the University of New Zealand. One hundred years later the College had evolved into the independent institution of the University of Canterbury with over 7000 students.

As the College grew, so too did the College buildings, which were for the first century of its life situated on the town site between Worcester Boulevard and Hereford Street. The College was to start out with one ‘temporary’ tin shed for a laboratory, but by 1973 the town site would include 32 buildings, additions or extensions, not to mention the temporary structures that had come and gone. Amongst them would number buildings that have become an essential part of architectural and cultural landscape in Christchurch.

 A Vision for Christ-Church College


 A University for New Zealand


 Therefore may your fields prosper


 The College in the Clouds


 A Gothic Soul


 United Existence