Tag Archives: Urban design

Democracy, a little strange looking here and there

ODT 12.5.17 (page 16)

Not sure the above is the “nature of democracy”.
Ownership more often than not has rights to what Democracy might be, for better or worse. Democracy is the dull moving target around traction of tolerance and accommodation, alternately characterised by recklessness, drilling, handholding, gutless audacity and full oppositional war. And finally, perhaps, it is Comedy of Errors (the big CE) – to do with pique, vanity, providence, chess-like cunning, ill temper and quarrelsome kicks, artful dodging, strange bed fellows, lousy cracks at definition, ruthless assaults and incursions, “Territory”, chiming disgust, stiff ultimatums, the surrender to power, corruption or fraud…..and all notions, wagons, bonfires that encircle ‘the final word’ and last stands, angry trumpet votes to Brexit, chaste lookalikes, injury, ill health….. Jesus weeps.

### ODT Online Wed, 12 Apr 2017
Hospital rebuild: back off but don’t back down
By Hilary Calvert
OPINION If we asked Otago people what they most want from health services it would likely be health service delivery in the province at least as good as the rest of New Zealand. For example, whatever qualifies for an operation here should be the same that qualifies those up north. The Dunedin School of Medicine is vital to us as well. […] What if harassing of the Government in an imagined party political fashion just makes the Government determined to not give us what we want, since we will likely vote two local Labour people into Parliament this year? If we concentrate on telling the Government what we most want, and stop trying to tell it how it should deliver the services, we have a much better chance of getting the best result.
Read more

Comment to What if? Dunedin:

Diane Yeldon
April 14, 2017 at 11:10 pm
“Harassing of the Government in an imagined party political fashion.” Well said by Hilary Calvert. Spot on!
Here’s the meeting video for 21 Feb. Starting from 1.58.24 into the video, you can watch the discussion on the resolution which authorised the [Dunedin Hospital SOS] campaign. This was the Notice of Motion put forward by Cr Benson-Pope and seconded by Cr Hawkins.
There was no information in the agenda about how much the ‘asking for support’ would cost or how the ‘asking for support’ would be carried out. Nor did any councillors ask questions about this. Their attention was focused solely on discussing the rights and wrongs of the hospital siting (with only a couple of councillors saying they didn’t think it was any of their business.)
I can’t help wondering if many of the councillors did not understood that this ‘asking for support’ would result in unleashing a full-blown advertising campaign with leaflet drop, website and newspaper ads costing so far $12,000! I wonder if the motion had been taken in two parts with the second part only about the campaign and its full extent and costs disclosed the majority would have still voted in favour.

Dunedin City Council Published on Feb 26, 2017
Dunedin City Council – Public Forum + Council Meeting – 21 February 2017
Minutes, agendas and reports related to this meeting can be found at https://goo.gl/Eis3sK

[decisionmaker.co.nz] formatted by whatifdunedin

Related Posts and Comments:
● 8.4.17 Questions over Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign
● 6.4.17 ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Image: batmanrobin by Mike Luckovich 2016 @njc.com [via truthdig.com] tweaked by whatifdunedin

32 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Health, Health & Safety, Heritage, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, LTP/AP, Media, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Technology, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

Prison revives for visitor experience

### ODT Online Sat, 29 Apr 2017
Tourism intended for prison
By David Loughrey
Dunedin’s old prison has four new trustees, a new tenant with the tourism market in mind, and is ready to move to a new stage in its evolution. The 121-year-old Victorian-style courtyard facility designed by John Campbell has been returned to its original form. Work to replace decorative architectural elements removed from the front of the building was completed recently. Now the Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust is turning its attention to future uses for the former jail that is one of the city’s more unusual historic buildings. The prison was decommissioned in 2007, and the trust bought the property in 2012. Trust chairman Owen Graham said the physical restoration work was 95% complete — ridge tiles and two 2-metre finials still had to be finished — but it was time to start a new stage of evolution for the building. The new trustees had been appointed for their range of skills and backgrounds, and would help the trust make decisions about what happened next. Those decisions could range from another part-upgrade or “go for a multimillion-dollar effort”. […] Mr Graham said part of the trust’s strategy was to start occupying parts of the prison to sustain its activities and “bring the prison back to life with different activities”. It had been working with a business that wanted to use the prison’s kitchen, which had been identified as “serviceable”.
Read more

The former prison has a Heritage New Zealand category one classification; future development involves discussion with Dunedin City Council and Heritage New Zealand.

Dunedin Prison | http://www.dunedinprisontrust.co.nz/

[excerpt from the trust’s website]

Timeline
Showing the many phases of use of the prison:
1896-1915 – new prison opened with cells for 52 men and 20 women
1915-1959 – Police move in to administration block and look after prisoners as well as their own duties
1959-1974 – 34 female prisoners are accommodated, segregated from men
1975-1994 – reopened catering for 59 male inmates
1994-2000 – Police move out to their new premises and prison reverts to original purpose as a men only facility
2007 – prison decommissioned and Corrections operation moved to Milburn
2011 – Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust formed to secure the prison for the nation
2012 – Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust raises $50,000 to allow it to purchase the property from Ngai Tahu Property Ltd
2014 – Conservation Plan completed
2015 – Fund-raising begins to allow us to restore the facades and repair part of the slate roof, estimated at $500,000.

Related Posts and Comments:
17.9.15 Dunedin Prison: Community Trust grant for restoration
16.9.15 DPAG exhibition talk, Sun 20 Sep —Jonathan Howard on Dunedin 1865
7.9.15 Public petition to save Courthouse for courts use
30.8.15 DPAG exhibition | Dunedin 1865: A City Rises…
23.8.15 1865 Dunedin —Heritage Festival 2015 ‘The Open City’ … 29 Aug
23.8.15 1865 Dunedin —Heritage Festival 2015 Shoreline Trail launch
11.7.15 Dunedin Law Courts “an incredible historic building” –Minister
14.5.15 Russell Lund on Ministry closure of Dunedin Law Courts
14.5.15 Justice at Dunedin
2.5.15 Ministry serves INJUSTICE for Dunedin Courthouse #HistoricHeritage
28.2.13 Tour the old prison in March (2013)
20.9.12 Dunedin Prison
6.6.12 Dunedin Prison purchased by trust
18.10.11 Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust
5.10.11 Training, jobs, city regeneration

█ For more, enter the term *heritage* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

*Images: whatifdunedin sketchbook – Dunedin Prison (former)

5 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Crime, DCC, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Innovation, Inspiration, Leading edge, Media, New Zealand, People, Pet projects, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Structural engineering, Tourism, Urban design

RNZ: Government crashes plans for a more pedestrian/cycle-friendly Christchurch

At Twitter:

Christchurch City Council proposes turning Victoria St into a cul-de-sac………

### radionz.co.nz Sun, 16 Apr 2017 1:37 p.m.
RNZ News: Politics / Canterbury
Govt threatens to pull funding for Chch downtown plan
The government is threatening to cancel its funding for a plan to make central Christchurch more pedestrian and cycle friendly if changes are not made. The Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Gerry Brownlee, said the government was paying 60 percent of the funding for the Accessible City plan, but last week he was granted authorisation by Cabinet to suspend its funding. Mr Brownlee said the plan, which has been partially implemented, risked creating a dysfunctional central city. “Its absurd. I’m hearing all the time from people who are going to have lunch or coffee in the central city and simply can’t park their car. Or end up parking such a long way away from it that they decide they may as well just drive to one of the suburban malls.”
Read more

****

Video link received Sun, 9 Apr 2017 at 9:53 p.m.

From the folks who brought you the self-driving car!

Google Nederland Published on Mar 31, 2016
Introducing the self-driving bicycle in the Netherlands
This spring, Google is introducing the self-driving bicycle in Amsterdam, the world’s premier cycling city. The Dutch cycle more than any other nation in the world, almost 900 kilometres per year per person, amounting to over 15 billion km annually. The self-driving bicycle enables safe navigation through the city for Amsterdam residents, and furthers Google’s ambition to improve urban mobility with technology. Google Netherlands takes enormous pride in the fact that a Dutch team worked on this innovation that will have great impact in their home country.

****

Link received from Hilary Calvert
Thu, 6 Apr 2017 at 7:53 p.m.

Message: Cycle lane cyclist truck turning left. Very dangerous.

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 07:03, Apr 7 2017
Former Hamilton teacher killed in collision with truck at Hamilton roundabout
By Phillipa Yalden – Waikato Times
Mike Leach taught Fairfield College students for 34 years. Some of the things he was involved in at Fairfield were outdoor education and building drama sets. He was a geography and social sciences teacher, and also a Dean. On Wednesday, as he cycled through the rain down Te Rapa Straight, the father of two’s life was cut short in a collision. The 67-year-old was killed when his bike and a B-train truck and trailer collided at the Te Rapa Road and Sunshine Avenue intersection at lunchtime on Wednesday. […] Quite a few people witnessed the crash on Wednesday, Waikato road police Senior Sergeant Gill Meadows said. “There are a number of people who were quite traumatised by the incident and we have referred them to Victim Support. There is quite a bit of work to be done on that particular incident.” Initial inquiries showed that the Halls refrigeration B-train truck was heading north along Te Rapa Straight when it went to turn left at the roundabout into Sunshine Avenue. “He was in the lane to turn left, and the cyclist was going straight ahead, and was on the left side of the truck. But we are still doing inquiries in regards to that.” There is a cyclist lane that runs along the straight, feeding into the roundabout. The crash occurred metres from shops and cafes at 11.30am. 
Read more 

Hamilton roundabout crash site [Christel Yardley/Fairfax NZ via stuff.co.nz]

Related Posts and Comments:
22.2.17 SH1 Cycleways : the real story
26.1.17 SH1 Cycleway : Carnage for Dunedin road users and city parking
21.1.17 Mayor ignores serious plight of DCC’s FAILED Otago power network in favour of urban cycleways and CBD
5.8.16 Informed : Flurry of cycleway chills at Dunedin
21.7.16 Not a bicycle accident, not a burst water main —sugar!
21.7.16 Cycleway planning at #DUD

█ For more, enter the term *cycle* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

1 Comment

Filed under Business, Construction, Cycle network, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Health & Safety, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZTA, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Perversion, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Sport, Tourism, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, Urban design, What stadium

Questions over Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS campaign

Received from Diane Yeldon
Fri, 7 April 2017 at 4:06 p.m.

OPINION

What’s wrong with the DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS Campaign?

If you clear away all the smoke from the party-political bluster, bickering and name–calling arising over this campaign, has the Dunedin City Council really done anything out of order? Or were some councillors, in fact, a majority, just trying to do their best for the people of Dunedin?

Unfortunately, the road to hell can be paved with good intentions. A council communication cannot be a political advertisement.

The Electoral Act more or less defines a political advertisement as anything which persuades or encourages voters to vote in a particular way. But our democratic rights to participate in government decision-making are not limited to voting once every three years. Citizens also have the right to petition Government, make submissions to select committees and other public authorities and deliberative bodies, and lobby MPs and Government Ministers.

If local councillors had been presented with a motion which proposed the following : that the Council encourages and persuades voters to choose candidate A, they would have rightly been horrified and would have rejected it.

In comparison, a single, short and final paragraph in a council motion which proposes that the Council should ask for public support for ONLY its own preferred position on a central government decision, and that people make such views known to central government, looks harmless and is quite likely to pass unnoticed – and, in fact, did. But it is just as political. It encourages people to use their democratic rights in a particular way.

The council staff should have alerted councillors that this was the case and that such political activism was beyond the proper scope of any local body. The difference in wording may be subtle but the democratic principles involved are significant and far-reaching.

Monday, 3 April 2017

[ends]

Dunedin City Council’s Dunedin Hospital SOS petition states:
“I demand that central government redevelops Dunedin Hospital in the centre of the city. The government must also make a clear commitment to retain a top flight teaching hospital for Dunedin and the wider Otago/Southland region.
Save Our Site. Save Our Services.”

Petition at the DCC-managed SOS website [framed screenshot]

At the bottom of the webpage, DCC says:
“Dunedin Hospital SOS
The Dunedin City Council (“DCC”, “we”, “us”, or “our”) operates, hosts, or manages a number of websites, including DunedinHospitalSOS.nz. This site was created and funded following a Council resolution (21 February 2017) to communicate to Government its complete opposition to a rebuild of Dunedin Hospital outside the central city. It is not a permanent website.”

How the petition got off the ground by Council vote (21 February 2017) on the Notice of Motion:

[screenshots – click to enlarge]

DCC Council 21.2.17 Agenda – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

DCC Council 21.2.17 Minutes – 15 Notice of Motion Dunedin Hospital Rebuild

****

The DCC Dunedin Hospital SOS flyer and Facebook campaign cost Ratepayers $7,102 (excl GST). Ratepayers also find themselves footing the bill for a DCC-led SOS media campaign:

ODT Online 8.4.17 [screenshot]

Related Posts and Comments:
● 6.4.17 ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance

█ For more, enter the terms *hospital*, *sdhb* and *swann* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

54 Comments

Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Dunedin, Education, Finance, Health, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Town planning, Transportation, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

ODT editor comments strongly #tick —Dunedin Hospital rebuild

Junior councillors should think carefully about how they appear in writing and how they might appear in publicity shots on Frederick St, as a band of politicos.

BRAVO to the ODT Editor:

Wisely, this editorial had already put dogsbodies in their place:

### ODT Online Thu, 30 Mar 2017
Editorial: Hospital central to city’s needs
OPINION What a shame the Dunedin City Council is divided over its campaign to keep the city’s hospital in the central city. This is an issue which should unite Dunedin. The squabbling is distressing. The council has initiated an effort to keep the rebuilt hospital right in town, with three councillors, Lee Vandervis, Mike Lord and Doug Hall, voting against. Dunedin-based National-list MP Michael Woodhouse waded in late last week, implying the campaign was a front for the Labour Party […] There are two fundamental issues. First, on the siting of the hospital, and second on whether the council should campaign on that. As as been pointed out strongly on this newspaper’s opinion page by two distinguished Dunedin residents, Sir David Skegg (a former University of Otago vice-chancellor) and Emeritus Prof David Jones (a former university medical division head), close links between the medical school and the hospital are vital.
Read more

DCC’s ‘Dunedin Hospital SOS’ flyer and Facebook campaign cost Ratepayers $7,102 (excl GST).

[click to enlarge]

DCC says 55,000 campaign flyers were printed, with 50,000 supposedly delivered to households (however, thickish piles of flyers have been found by cleaners about town —gathering dust in corporate office tearooms and reception areas)….

ODT 25.3.17 (page 1) – tweaked by whatifdunedin

### ODT Online Sat, 25 Mar 2017
Woodhouse blasts DCC
By Eileen Goodwin
National list MP Michael Woodhouse has lashed out at the Dunedin City Council over its hospital rebuild campaign, implying it is a front for the Labour Party. And Mr Woodhouse said the council’s stance was “confusing” — on the one hand it wants a central city rebuild, but it granted the Accident Compensation Corporation the right to consider buying the Frederick St car park. ACC has a 12-month timeframe to look at development options for the site. […] Mr Woodhouse is also ACC Minister, and he made it clear he was speaking as a local MP.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
● 27.3.17 Site Notice #DunedinHospital
● 26.2.17 Dunedin Hospital Redevelopment
● 6.2.17 Let the Ombudsman recommend for democracy at SDHB
● 24.1.17 SDHB/Govt : Physio Pool GRIEF
● 9.1.17 Audit NZ admonishes commissioner Grant and SDHB #Health
● 18.12.16 DCC set to take away CBD car parks without Economic Impact research
20.11.16 Delta at Dunedin Hospital #worseluck
7.11.16 SDHB #FAILS with Healthcare Communication and Governance
3.9.16 SDHB ‘food’ : Our eyes glaze over . . . .
23.8.16 Win! to DCC candidate Paul Pope #DunedinHospital
22.6.16 SDHB Commissioners speed-bleed health system
1.5.16 Hospital food according to Gurglars
23.12.15 SDHB underfunded, no bandage
3.11.15 SDHB will ‘takeaway’ more than freshly cooked meals and a head chef
30.10.15 Dunedin Hospital #despair
● 17.6.15 Southern District Health Board sacked !!!
9.6.15 Southern District Health Board
16.4.15 Talk of replacing Southern District Health Board with commissioner
21.8.14 Dirty pool? #SDHB #University
6.8.14 Otago Therapeutic Pool at Dunedin Hospital
1.5.14 Dunedin Hospital buildings SORRY STATE
14.1.14 DCC: Hospital area parking changes #cyclelanes
5.12.13 Swann case: ODHB/SDHB and friends
3.8.12 Extraordinary editorials

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

10 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, District Plan, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Health, Hospital, Hot air, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Pet projects, Politics, Project management, Property, Proposed 2GP, Public interest, Resource management, SDHB, Site, Town planning, Travesty, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

Site Notice #DunedinHospital

This afternoon David Benson-Pope requested an unreserved apology from the website owner following publication of an image and various comments at a now deleted post concerning the Save Our Hospital campaign that was highlighted in a newspaper story published on 25 March 2017.

The website owner unreservedly apologises to Mr Benson-Pope for the publication of this material and any resulting discomfort or distress it may have caused.

An apology will be emailed to Mr Benson-Pope shortly, copy Sandy Graham, DCC.

Elizabeth Kerr
Site Owner

Reference:

### ODT Online Sat, 25 Mar 2017
Woodhouse blasts DCC
By Eileen Goodwin
National list MP Michael Woodhouse has lashed out at the Dunedin City Council over its hospital rebuild campaign, implying it is a front for the Labour Party. And Mr Woodhouse said the council’s stance was “confusing” — on the one hand it wants a central city rebuild, but it granted the Accident Compensation Corporation the right to consider buying the Frederick St car park. ACC has a 12-month timeframe to look at development options for the site. […] Mr Woodhouse is also ACC Minister, and he made it clear he was speaking as a local MP.
Read more

[ends]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

21 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Dunedin, Economics, Education, Finance, Geography, Health, Hospital, Infrastructure, Leading edge, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Project management, Property, Public interest, SDHB, Site, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

Christchurch Cathedral : Marcus Brandt and the People’s Steeple Project

christchurch-cathedral-steeple-by-country-farm-garden-photos-cfgphoto-com-render1-1

While Bishop Victoria and the Anglican church property trust (CPT) continue to sit on their hands perhaps awaiting devine intervention, who knew, it turns out that a group of stalwart people in New Zealand – with an incredible level of international assistance – are busy planning a very special Cathedral project.

From: Mark Belton
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2017 11:11 PM
To: [Elizabeth Kerr + RCC Mailing List]
Subject: Introducing The People’s Steeple

Dear Cathedral Restoration supporters

Below is a link to a video clip of the People’s Steeple proposal being demonstrated by its creator Marcus Brandt. Marcus has been in CHCH this last week promoting the People’s Steeple Project.

The People’s Steeple is a mind blowing proposal…audacious, visionary, inspiring. Lifting telescoping timber sections of the spire 60 metres into the sky…powered by about 500 trained people working 16 capstan winches placed around Cathedral Square, watched by up to 50,000 people in the Square.

The US based Timber Framers Guild (TFG), a professional organisation of engineers and timber framers has offered to be the lead contractor to build, assemble, and erect the People’s Steeple. The lead NZ engineers would be renowned CHCH timber engineer – Prof Andy Buchanan whose report on the project is attached.

Skilled TFG members from the US and around the world would gift their time, working in the Square preparing and assembling the timbers, and then helping lead the steeple’s erection. Up to 300 TFG members along with locals could be involved working in the Square over a period of about 6 months.

The TFG have successfully undertaken 75 community building projects over the last 25 years in the US and around the world. They are super keen to offer their services to CHCH. The TFG emphasise their projects are about ‘building communities’.

Marcus says would take only 2-3 hrs to lift and secure the telescoping sections. Flooring and bells would be assembled the same day and in the evening the bells would ring out…proclaiming to the world – ‘Christchurch is back’….and a Hangi feast would be opened…for a crowd of 50,000! International media would broadcast the event around the world…the whole enterprise being about engaging our community in the most positive way…and it would ignite fund raising for the restoration of the cathedral. It is envisaged the construction of the People’s Steeple would lead restoration of the cathedral and the Square.

It is noted huge pro bono contributions from the Guild’s members are being offered, and Blakely Pacific NZ Ltd, a US based forestry company has offered to provide the timbers at no cost from giant 125-year-old Port Orford Cedar from its Pioneer Forest in South Canterbury.

The Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group is strongly supportive of the People’s Steeple.

We hope this inspiring project will help engage and enthuse Christchurch people with recovery of the cathedral, and help get the cathedral restoration programme underway.

Warm regards

Mark Belton
Co-Chair, Restore Christchurch Cathedral

Mark Belton
Managing Director
Permanent Forests NZ Limited
PO Box 34, Lyttelton 8841, New Zealand

See attached reports by Marcus Brandt, Andy Buchanan, and the TFG.
TFG People’s Steeple Project approach notes-10-2-16
Steeple 16-8-12
M Belton report on Timber Framers Guild conf and People’s Steeple 23-9-16
Engineering the People’s Steeple v9

The People’s Steeple | Whare Films Published on Feb 23, 2017

christchurch-cathedral-tonyhphotography-co-nz-bw-render1-1

The People’s Steeple
Rebuilding the Bell Tower at Christchurch Cathedral

Marcus Brandt: An Introduction

For the last thirty years or so, I’ve been restoring historic stone and timber buildings, mostly in Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’m a working master carpenter and stone mason. Most of the historic buildings I am called to work on are 150 to 300 years old. Solid and well crafted, these old buildings tend to age well, but neglect and damage can take a toll. Much of my effort is spent in repairing and strengthening the timber frames of barns, bridges, houses, gristmills and churches. I’ve had several commissions to build new structures in the old style. I have organized and led many barn raisings, in which hundreds of volunteers gather to raise a barn’s frame in a day. A good crew will have the sides and roof on too.
Straightening, plumbing and repairing damaged stone walls is often called for. It is not uncommon to straighten a wall 10 meters high that is out of plumb by 400 or 500 mm. Having studied and worked with several Scots masons, I’m a strong believer in lime based mortars and good masonry practice. The interface between stone and timber is of particular interest to me.
Since 1989, I’ve been a professional member of the Timber Framers Guild (TFG) and a member of the Traditional Timberframe Research and Advisory Group (TTRAG). That part of the Guild focuses on understanding the past practice of the craft with a view that the past might help inform future practice. I have advised many historical and preservation societies and sat on many review boards.
As a result of my participation in Guild efforts and projects, I was invited to go to both Scotland and China to investigate “lost” technologies for the Public Broadcast Service series NOVA. We built working siege weapons in Scotland and in China we built a bridge design that hadn’t been built since the Mongol invasion.
I teach Traditional building skills at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA. I’m particularly interested in ways that the pre-industrial past practice can inform building in the greener, sustainable post-industrial world of the future.
I serve as a sailor, boson and ship’s carpenter aboard the tall ship Gazela (www.Gazela.org). That experience has taught me much about rigging and raising heavy loads in confined spaces. It’s taught me about erecting tall, secure, flexible, stable structures that get tossed about and shaken mercilessly. A sea captain in her own right, my wife serves as First Mate aboard Gazela. She out-ranks me, and helps keep me humble.
Since 22 February, I have been working as much as possible to develop a method to rebuild the Bell tower at Christchurch. With the help of friends and students, and the forbearance of my wife, I developed a plan that is beautiful, solid, strong, flexible, earthquake resistant, buildable, durable, and familiar. But more than anything, I want to use the rebuilding of the steeple as a vehicle for rebuilding and strengthening the community. And, once built, serve as an outward witness to the inward love we have for each other as fellow humans.
I look forward to doing this project with the able help of my best friends in the world…many of whom I haven’t yet met.

█ More information about the People’s Steeple Project and participants at http://thepeoplessteeple.org/

christchurch-cathedral-detail-mygola-com-tweaked

Related Posts and Comments:
23.12.15 Christ Church Cathedral: practical news from govt mediator…
14.7.12 Rival newspaper on historic heritage #cathedral
2.3.12 Christ Church, Cathedral Square

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

This post is offered in the public interest.

christchurch-cathedral-detail-with-chalice-sisson-photography-photoshelter-com

christchurch-cathedral-mudbirdceramics-blogspot-co-nz

christchurch-cathedral-5-aug-2003-by-cindy-staticflickr-com-tweaked

*Images: Christchurch Cathedral – (from top) colour render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Country Farm Garden Photos at cfgphoto.com]; black white render by whatifdunedin [photo source: Tony H Photography at tonyhphotography.co.nz]; colour photo of steeple detail [mygola.com]; cathedral with chalice by Sisson Photography [via photoshelter.com]; black white photo by Mudbird Ceramics [mudbirdceramics.blogspot.co.nz]; colour photo by Cindy taken on 5 Aug 2003 [via staticflickr.com]

23 Comments

Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Business, Construction, Democracy, Design, Economics, Education, Events, Finance, Fun, Geography, Heritage, Heritage NZ, Innovation, Inspiration, Leading edge, Name, New Zealand, People, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, Site, Structural engineering, Technology, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design