Quake may spell end to high-rise buildings in Christchurch

Last week's destructive Christchurch earthquake may spell the end to any more high-rise buildings in the city, architects say.

Warren & Mahoney managing director Peter Marshall told The New Zealand Herald the height of the city would drop.

Tougher national standards for strengthening older buildings were also likely in the wake of the disaster.

That could affect thousands of buildings built before earthquake codes began to tighten during the 1970s.

Department of Building and Housing deputy chief executive for building quality Dave Kelly said the existing provision for councils to adopt policies to bring older buildings up to one-third of the strength required in modern buildings must be examined.

Warren & Mahoney designed many of New Zealand's landmark buildings including TVNZ in Auckland, the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington and the Christchurch Town Hall.

Mr Marshall was determined Christchurch would rise again.

If a quarter of Christchurch buildings were at risk, then three-quarters of the buildings were not at risk, he said.

Most modern buildings performed well in an earthquake but people may not want to work in high-rise towers again.

"I think in Christchurch in our lifetime there will not be any multi-storey buildings built."

The council would also have to take the hard decision not to allow rebuilding in areas with the worst liquefaction and one or two suburbs would have to be relocated.

"We have the land to do it. Rolleston and Pegasus have been fine in both earthquakes."

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