Science - Information and Records Management - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Faculty of Science

1962 - 1966, Ministry of Works

Chemistry, Physics and Library - $2,957,136
Lecture Block, Maths/Psychology - $1,142,470
Geology, Botany and Zoology - $1,520,986

For further detail and more images related to the Science buildings please click here


Foundations of Science Building 1961

The science complex was built in three stages by three separate contractors.

Stage 1 - Chemistry, Physics and the Physical Sciences library were built by Williamson Construction Company

Stage 2 - Mathematics and Psychology Departments and the Science Lecture Theatres were built by John Calder Limited

Stage 3 - Botany, Geology, Zoology and Geography were built by Fletcher Construction Company


Chronicle article 1963
Chronicle notice, March 1963

By February 1963 the buildings were beginning to take shape. The Stage 1 basement level was complete and work was proceeding on the ground level of the Physics department. Stage 2 had considerable pre-cast work completed and the first level of the lecture theatre block was close to completion. Stage three had been contracted out later than the other two, however the foundations were laid and the outline of the building was visible.

Model of sciences Model of Rutherford with man
Models of the Science Buildings

Chronicle article 1963


By this stage the construction was stirring the interest of the students and others in the neighbourhood who were taking it upon themselves to investigate the building site.





Science block with concrete tubes 1965Science Block with Statues 1965Science lecture theatre block with digger 1965Science lecture theatre block with builder 1965

The first section of the Faculty of Science buildings was completed in 1965 and the move from the city site began in October 1965 with the Department of Geology. The move involved around 80 teachers, 1200 students and hundreds of tons of equipment and was likely the most complex moving operation ever undertaken in Christchurch at this time.





Fisheye view of Science 1966

The move was a relief for staff and students in terms of space. The town site had been badly congested for years and the Department had been divided in location around the central city campus. The Science faculty at the town site had been occupying a space of 68,000 square feet, while the new site had over 400,000 square feet.


A fish-eye view of the Science area



Inside Science lecture theater block 1967 The covered way 1967

Opinions on the new science buildings varied. Many teachers were pleased to move into spacious, purpose-built structures, however some viewed them as "the bleak and brutal spaces of the new University at Ilam...this graceless conglomerate of materials and building types".

Extract from A History of the University of Canterbury, 1873 - 1973. p.357


Sciences library 1968 Physical Sciences library 1968

Physical Sciences Library (now the Student Services building) from two angles


Science block with cars 1969 Science lecture theatre block with students 1969


In 1971 the eight-storey chemistry/physics building was named the Ernest Rutherford building

Science block with ponds 1973Students outside science block 1973