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The most beautiful lifts on campus

10 September 2020

Refurbishments of the College of Arts’ Elsie Locke and James Logie buildings on the University of Canterbury (UC) campus have been completed, with the star of the project, showcased at a small event last Friday 25 September, was definitely the artistic lifts.


Six Fine Arts students received their awards before a small group of people who had been involved in the project. The guests ascended the building to admire each pair of art lifts and to acknowledge each artist.

Sang Kyu Moon, Zara Dolan, Sophie Ballantyne, Irenie How, Olivia Sinclair and Janneth Gil were the student artists selected from a large number of entries.

Office & Gallery Manager at the Ilam School of Fine Arts, Sarah Brown, coordinated the art competition. “We'd like to acknowledge the quality and number of entries, which made the selection process for the small group of judges rewarding and equally challenging. With over fifty entries put forward this was a really great experience for all involved, with the staff who now occupy the building where these works are now on display, already expressing their gratitude for having them in their lives!” she said.  

“We hope that this is the beginning of an ongoing series of works, which will occupy this site and other areas of the campus in the years to come.”

Lou Peterson, College Operations Manager, first suggested the old lift doors needed, well, a lift. “The outcome, in partnership with Alan Spinks from Signs Inc, was to wrap the existing doors with a fire rated skin and at that point we could choose images. From there, it seemed appropriate to go out to our Fine Arts students in the form of a competition with a prize.”

Each pair of lifts features matching artworks, each expressing different themes and techniques, some referencing the arts disciplines located on that particular floor.

Introducing the lift artworks, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Arts Jonathan Le Cocq talked about the importance of having a proper ‘front door’ for the College on campus for the first time since the earthquakes, the importance of creativity and imagination in our students, and how sustainability had been front and centre in the project. 

The two interconnected buildings’ remediation, by Brosnan Construction, started in early 2019 and was competed in July 2020. The work has brightened up the buildings and opened up new shared spaces for staff and students.  One of the floors is entirely dedicated to postgraduate students and there is a new conference/meeting space for 50 people.

Not only are the buildings now much more energy efficient than previously, but over 95% of the furniture within Locke and Logie has been refurbished from existing UC stocks, to save costs, to reduce storage at UC and avoid sending items to the landfill.

The college re-used as much older furniture as possible, sourcing additional pre-loved furniture from other areas of campus; Tracy Ford from UC Logistics was instrumental in helping with this.

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