Earthquake Memorial Wall
A place to reflect and remember
The Canterbury Earthquake Memorial, He Whakamaumaharatanga o te Ru Whenua, is a project of significance to all New Zealanders. A place to reflect and remember, it holds special meaning for Cantabrians who experienced these events, but is equally important for the families and friends (both here and overseas) of those who lost their lives or were injured in the earthquakes.
Designed by Slovenian architect Grega Vezjak (whose design was selected from 330 others in an international architecture competition), the memorial comprises a marble wall inscribed with the names of the 185 victims of the 2011 earthquake and a 7m wide basalt terrace promenade which opens onto the Ōtākaro/Avon Rivers edge. The 150m long, 3.6 m high wall also acknowledges the event's first responders and emergency personnel.
Brian Perry Civil had the privilege of building the Memorial Wall on the south bank of the river. Their work included:
- Installation of 70 CFA (Continuous Flight Auger) reinforced piles up to 8m deep and 900mm in diameter. The piles hold the wall structure up, while also retaining the existing roadway and footpath
- Installation of sheet piles
- Installation of pre-cast walls and terrace sections
- In situ concrete works
- Marble cladding
- Basalt paving
- Electrical works
- Steel handrails and balustrades
The project’s location right in the CBD and on the banks of the Avon River, as well as its national significance, attracted substantial public interest. Working at the water's edge and in the river itself meant extensive liaison with Environment Canterbury to plan and monitor all works to prevent any disruption to aquatic life. The river water level changed constantly, requiring careful construction planning. Difficulty ground conditions added further challenge.
We identified early that undertaking the in situ concrete works in winter created a potential environmental risk, with the ability to effect the programme. We precast the terraces offsite – enabling both a seamless installation and timely delivery.
The wall was completed in time for the commemorations of the February earthquake in early 2017.