As restoration work continues at Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal, its famous painted ceiling dome has been removed for preservation.
A specialised lifting apparatus to carefully lower the eight-tonne dome to a secure position in the stage area has been designed by a team from Naylor Love, the project manager RCP, structural engineers Holmes Consulting and Smith Crane and Construction.
The Italianate dome depicts scenes from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and was created by G.C. Post of the Carrara Ceiling Company of Wellington for the 1908 opening.
Heritage consultants have assessed the painting’s state of repair and there are no signs of stress.
The intention is to rebuild the theatre as it was. Plans of the building’s intricate interior and exterior design have been created, and a computer-generated model of the theatre will ensure, if necessary, a replica can be rebuilt in its entirety.
This article first appeared in Engineering Insight September/October 2012 Volume 13/5 and has been reproduced with the permission of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand.