Gap Filler scheme a success in Christchurchby Hamish Keith
The brilliant Gap Filler scheme is a simple idea and a dashing metaphor for cultural recovery in Christchurch.
The books came, but sadly not to Bexley. Under the brilliant Gap Filler scheme, the inspired initiative of Coralie Winn, old shop refrigerators have appeared on vacant lots filled with books and are doing a thriving exchange business. Gap Filler is doing much else besides, and now with official support. It is a simple idea and a dashing metaphor for cultural recovery.
On that subject, there is a lot of complicated thinking going on, much of it about how a new Christchurch might look. There are a great many competing aesthetics. But architect Marshall Cook has stumbled on what might be a fundamental flaw in that. He has come up with a simple architectural equation that needs to be resolved first.
Before we can have any real idea about how built Christchurch might look, we need to know how it will be built. Style, argues Cook, inevitably follows technology. The history of architecture seems very much on his side. If I had paid more attention to algebra – my form teacher astutely observed that I was “easily confused” – I might venture an equation for you. Style follows technology. Technology is invented by cultures. Cultures are shaped by internal evolutions and external stresses.
Two examples: the enclosed barrel vault of Romanesque churches of 6th to 10th century Europe where the church was battling for power – the Church Militant – and the soaring arches and flying buttresses of the gothic cathedrals that followed when the battle was won and the church was in control – the Church Triumphant. History is littered with examples, such as Emperor Constantine’s vast dome of Hagia Sophia and St Peter’s Basilica, both celebrating the technologies of their age.
It is not hard to see what is evolving and what is stressing the larger culture of Christchurch – a decade at least of tectonic stress and an ingenious determination to remake a whole city. If Cook is right, those circumstances should be single-mindedly driving the invention of a technology that will allow that to happen. Once that has happened, the architectural language will flower; here are the essential pieces – rearrange them in as many ingenious ways as the art of architecture can devise. Gap Filler and the man from Bexley both seemed to grasp the essential simplicity of this process. Of course, to make that metaphor more encouraging and fair, the first fridge should have been in Bexley.
A contemporary dance show that marries dystopian anxiety with raw energy is a must-see at the Auckland Arts Festival.Read more
A push to get local authorities to sign up to a declaration on climate change is "politically charged and driven", the Thames-Coromandel mayor says.Read more
A Taiwanese diplomat’s death in Japan has become a symbol of the consequences and dangers of disinformation.Read more
Research has shown that dieters’ attempts to resist eating certain foods appear to lead to cravings for those foods.Read more
Message manipulation using bots, algorithms and, now, AI software is making it harder to know what’s real – and threatening democracy itself.Read more
New Zealand is lining up to introduce a new tax on multinational companies that make money out of online goods and services in this country.Read more
Having polarising MPs like Paula Bennett and Maggie Barry leading the opposition to popular reforms could be kryptonite to the National Party.Read more