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Reconstructing Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal heritage building

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Naylor Love


Restoration of the heritage Edwardian theatre following the Christchurch earthquakes.


  • Survey monitoring
  • Construction set out
  • Legal boundary definition services

Project completion


Total project value

$40 million

The 100-year-old heritage building, the Isaac Theatre Royal, sustained considerable damage in the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.

Extensive earthquake strengthening work undertaken in 1998 – 1999 saved the building from complete collapse, but some significant deconstruction was required to secure and protect the key interior and exterior heritage elements.

The project was significantly more elaborate in design and complexity of construction than originally estimated with the Theatre being rebuilt from façade to proscenium arch. The restoration had significant challenges throughout, making it one of the most intricate building projects in the earthquake damaged Christchurch CBD.

Our work

During the restoration works, our survey team monitored the building for any movement in its level or heritage façades. We determined the relationship between existing legal boundaries and the existing building, and set out gridlines for the restoration works. This included placing multiple controls and monitoring marks to provide redundancy so that the monitoring and reporting could be maintained with minimal disruption or uncertainty through mark loss.


The Isaac Theatre Royal re-opened on 17 November 2014. A superbly restored heritage theatre with many of its original Edwardian features, it has achieved 100 percent of the new earthquake building code and is highly regarded as an inspirational example of hope for many Cantabrians.

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