We like Christchurch textile artist Vita Cochran (and her work) so we knew she was a good candidate to choose a building for our 'My Favourite Building' page. And she did - choosing not a wreckage, but a building that symbolises Christchurch's modern, progressive side and embodies the city's post-earthquake determination: The New Brighton Library, designed by Warren & Mahoney. The photograph is by Stephen Goodenough.
Here's what Vita wrote for us about the building:
"I love this building because of its inspired siting: a wonderful modern library, a building with personality, in the sandhills of New Brighton beach. It's elliptical and aerodynamic, nautical without being heavy-handed, with a roof like folded insect wings and sunshades on one face which suggest paper kites. In winter you can sit in a window seat with a pile of books and look out at the waves crashing just metres away, while being sheltered from the freezing easterly. In summer you can get your magazines out and read them on the beach.
"I love that the building is unashamedly modern yet it sits easily with the 1934 clock tower at its Western entrance. It embraces the wonderful windswept Monterey Cypress on its north side and it doesn't overpower the sand-blasted, salt-coated scruffy charm of the rest of New Brighton. It is welcoming, always busy. A small sign asks you remove sandy towels and beach gear before entering; otherwise it just lets you get on and enjoy it. Happily, though it is in the city's damaged eastern suburbs, the library came through the earthquakes with only minor cosmetic damage. It was soon open to the public again with its shelves full beyond capacity, carrying material from other quake-damaged Christchurch libraries which remain closed."