After the earthquake :: Whole House Reuse, Christchurch, New Zealand

A home that will never be lived in again; a church that will never receive another congregation. Entire communities displaced and buildings reduced to rubble. Christchurch, New Zealand, is full of stories like these after a series of earthquakes hit the city, the most devastating of which killed 185 people in 2011.

Out of tragedy and destruction on a scale that is truly hard to fathom has emerged a community project that is as beautiful as it is practical and meaningful. It is called Whole House Reuse and it has been created by the Rekindle organisation.


red chair Rekindle JPEG HIGH RES 2013 Day 2 - BY Laura Forest-21


GT Patten st



trestle detail Rekindle JPEG HIGH RES 2013 Day 2 - BY Laura Forest-9


Juliet Arnott is an occupational therapist and the founder of Rekindle, a Christchurch-based social enterprise creating bespoke timber furniture salvaged from demolished earthquake red zone buildings. Her ambitious vision is to realise a zero wood waste culture in New Zealand, whilst generating beautiful furniture. – New Zealand Herald

In Rekindle’s Whole House Reuse project an entire house, destined for demolition in the city’s earthquake-damaged “red zone”, is instead carefully deconstructed, by hand, with each object catalogued to form an inventory of materials that are then offered to designers to create from.






Not only is every last scrap of material reused; the project also honours the social and personal history of the home; the memories and lives lived there and the provenance of the (often rare) native timbers the home was originally built from.

timber jack Rimu logging at Mamaku


Seeker of the Lost Arts will continue to follow the Whole House Reuse project to see what the designers create.  The images above, of furniture and sculpture have been created by Rekindle previously and many are for sale through their online shop.

Find out more here:


Whole House Reuse 

Images via Whole House Reuse and Rekindle and their Facebook pages.

Furniture images are by New Zealand photographer, Laura Forest for Rekindle.

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