With fine sunny weather today (sandwiched between two days of chilly, showery, wintery weather) it was a great day to get out and about, and away from my desk for a few hours. It ended up being a nice afternoon to take a walk around the Arts Centre for the first time in ages - between the first wave of Omicron, and our very own "Camp Covid" from the rabid "Freedumbs" crowd just around the corner, it's been a while since I've been to this part of town.
Here are some highlights from the afternoon. Unfortunately, I only had my phone with me today, though things turned out relatively ok in the end I guess...
Restored Arts Centre Observatory Tower
The Arts Centre used to the campus for the University of Canterbury when it was first founded in the 1880's up until the mid 1950's / 1960's. Back then, it was part of "University of New Zealand", where it initially was known as "Canterbury College". Thus, the "Observatory Tower" used to be an actual research + teaching facility, containing a telescope used for those purposes. It was, like the rest of the Arts Centre, badly damaged in the 2011 Earthquake. Earlier this year, the restoration project finally got around to restoring this building - it is now home to a boutique hotel.
Street-Art on the frontage of the YMCA
It was nice seeing this all restored for the first time in years!
"Old Botany" Corner
The "Old Botany" corner just beside the tower is a particularly cute little nook!
My Favourite Features:
1) The nice glass-ball lamp above the staircase 😍
2) The little "homeless shelter" - slash doorless "Harry Potter" space, under the stairwell... 😂
Wonder what it was originally meant for? Surely not for astronomy students to sleep in?!
Other Fun Little Details
There were a bunch of other fun little architectural details I snapped some pics of:
1) I wonder if this lone, quirky little-black light fixture is a new addition, as part of the hotel? Even if it isn't it's rather neat...
2) These ornate downpipes are an interesting touch! The shot might be a nice reference for some CG artists out there, heh
3) The earthquake strengthening elements added to these structures are rather interesting and scary at the same time... Check out these stainless steel cables + heavy-duty brackets, which look like they're basically tying the building together like a parcel of tofu with a corset fitted around it!
Psst... I wonder if the music department's been assigned the basement bunker? Might help with the sound proofing, but it's probably not much of an improvement over the dreary bunker-shed they occupied over in Ilam. I went in there once or twice for some Chamber Music workshops - absolutely depressing place... might have helped the music students develop the pathos needed during their lengthy practice sessions though :P
New Maori Street-Art on the Art Gallery Underground Access Shed
Was surprised to see that the Art Gallery has got some new street art on the underground-escape/stairs building... It's quite a striking Maori design! Well done to whoever came up with that!
Thankfully winter hasn't fully set in yet, and we can still see the tail end of some of the autumnal colours. Some of these seem to be running late - maybe like my mini maple forest I started amassing this year, they too are running a bit late, with all the warm weather we've been having till a few days ago!
Closing Musings (Unrelated to the Arts Centre)
After years of not being able to find any Chicken Pies (not "Chicken + Mushroom", or "Chicken Satay", but plain old "Chicken + Vegetable"...) to eat anywhere, the past few weeks I've been blessed to stumble across a few new vendors!
God bless the local bakers for keeping this up (and coming up some nice new flavours too), and a few enlightened locally-owned supermarkets who stock their stuff!
Now I should have regular access (and failing that, a direct ordering form from the bakery themselves - heck, I even stumbled on to the little cul-de-sac they're based on a few months ago, looking for some new easier routes to drive along) to not only "classic" Chicken pies, but also a bunch of nice ones too (e.g. "Chicken + Cranberry + Brie", or "Chicken + Apricot", or "Chicken + Asparagus").
The ones I stumbled across at a cafe nearby were also quite good - technically it was a "quiche" and not a "pie", but practically, there wasn't much difference! 😋
"Chicken, Apricot, and Cream Cheese Quiche" - Yum!
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