If you walk into the School of Architecture – it’s the red building almost opposite the brothel in Vivian Street – you’ll find this remarkably ingenious, inventive and imaginative reworking of Cuba Street.
Fourth-year architecture students were last year given the assignment of coming up with a new plan for Cuba Street, which would include earthquake strengthening of all the heritage buildings which give the street its character, as well as creating new ones to replace some of uglier structures.
The result: an envigorating mix of old and new.
Only a few of Cuba Street’s buildings have so far been strengthened. While some property owners have just got on with the job, a majority are still talking about how to find the money. Few of them yet seem to have been to talk to the people at the school of architecture, where there’s confidence and know-how about how even the oldest of the street’s old brick buildings can be saved and strengthened – at less cost than demolishing and rebuilding.
As well as rethinking the look of the street, the students have also come up with some challenging new ideas. This one may never find a developer. But everyone who stops to inspect the model street is fascinated by it.