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Historic Christchurch Landmark Rebuilt with Modern Zinc Cladding

Built in 1906, the Carlton Hotel pub in Christchurch had a long history of serving patrons on the corner of Papanui Road and Bealey Avenue until it was demolished in April 2011, after suffering structural damage from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The hotel was quickly rebuilt and opened in September 2013, with Cook Brothers Construction realising Chris Prebble Architects' 'Rubik's Cube' design, using the distinctive look of VM Anthra Zinc cladding from the Architectural Roofing Company.

Architectural Style

Design Principal Dean Cowell divided the building into three layers, with the middle layer 'twisted like a Rubik's Cube' to give an offset look to the building.  

"Instead of a very monolithic, vertical paneled look, we wanted to break it up a bit more, so we had three different widths to give a bit of movement for the eye," he explained.  "It has that strong vertical rhythm to it and we were able to mix it in its varying widths." 

"We also chose it for the silky colour and the different effects it gets through the shadowing of the joins," said Dean.

VM Anthra Zinc's velvet look, achieved by modifying the crystalline structure of the surface of the metal, is popular with architects looking to create effects when a building is hit by sunlight. 


To counteract potential seismic activity, engineered timber was interwoven with the zinc cladding to ensure that the upper level of the building remained lightweight – unlike the previous Carlton Hotel where the 2011 earthquake caused the facade to lean dangerously over the road.

"We didn't want to have a heavyweight cladding system on a large concrete building, so we looked to the zinc straightaway as it still looks very natural without having a heavy cladding up high.

"We wanted people to feel safe walking into the building and people could see that it was reasonably lightweight and had a soft kind of texture to it," said Dean.  "It was absolutely the right choice for the project."

Bruce Gibson, Director of Architectural Roofing Company, believes that its low maintenance and durability made the VM Anthra Zinc cladding a sound choice for the build.  

“The construction process was challenging from a timeline perspective but all parties involved managed to work together to meet the tight deadlines," said Bruce.  "It’s such an important building, really iconic being on the corner of Papanui Road.  We are proud to be a part of its history." 

Builder: Cook Brothers Construction, Christchurch

Architect: Chris Prebble Architects, Christchurch

VM Zinc: Architectural Roofing Company, Christchurch

View more information on The Architectural Roofing Company, including contact details.
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