In 2017, the Old Chemistry building at the Arts Centre reopened as part of Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury. Housing the Department of Classics, the Teece Museum showcasing the Logie Collection, and the performance activities of the School of Music, the building is a vibrant part of the arts community based in this historic architectural complex.
As the building’s name suggests, however, it started life as home to the Department of Chemistry of the University of Canterbury, which was then called Canterbury College. Designed by the local architectural firm Collins and Harman and opened in 1910, it was purpose-built for scientific research and teaching, and suggests the prominent position of the discipline of Chemistry within Canterbury College.
Chemistry occupied the building until 1966, the year in which the department was moved to the Ilam campus, where most of the University of Canterbury is still based today.
On the following pages, text has been provided by Professor Emeritus John Blunt and Dr John Packer.