One of the early landmark buildings in Timaru was the CFCA building, a large department store spanning a whole block from Beswick to Strathallan St, and operating on two main floor levels. The building had been designed by Black & Dunning of Cape Town as the result of an international competition.
Following demolition the site was filled by a new office building designed by Wilkie & Bruce of Christchurch. In deference to the impressive size of the original building the architects have not only filled the site from street to street, but have also created large open terraces on the north side to create an illusion of size.
The open concrete frames enclose spaces that do not appear to be used, but succeed in increasing the scale of the building and add to the streetscape.
The soft landscaping to the Strathallan St side was important. Selected by landscape architect Peter Rough the original choice around the base of the building was a dense arrangement of ice plants in pink/purple shades that complemented the maroon colour of the tiled columns.
Of much greater significance was Peter Rough’s inspired selection of an American red ash species fraxinus pennsylvanica as the principal tree for this site. Some years later when the CBD upgrade was promoted by the Timaru District Council this species was adopted as the signature tree for the project. The modest size together with the picturesque form of the ash has led to a successful outcome.
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