Starting on April 7, the Pallet Pavilion was taken apart, pallet by pallet with the help of volunteers. This is in the same way as the project was built. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand.

272 deconstruction volunteers
586.5 volunteer hours

We were thrilled that so many people were happy to help with the final stages of this project. It’s testament to the community spirit the project captured and really gratifying.

Read our blog for more insider info.

Week One

Where will everything go?
All the pallets and crates will go back to CHEP who kindly lent them to us.* Plants will go back to the nurseries who donated them and others who want them. The concrete slabs that are our foundations came from the demolished Clarendon Hotel – they were the floor slabs, the 9th to be precise. These are going to Canterbury farmers to be instant bridges over streams.

We plan to make other items available to artists, community groups etc. So the tables, conduit, cable, lights, wood etc will be made available to those who want them. We think that’s pretty sweet. If you’re interested in some of our materials, please email with the subject line: PP Materials and she can sort you out.

* to those wanting their sponsored pallet (name painted on it) or pallets to use, we can’t give the pallets away, sorry, they are not ours. CHEP wants them back.

Creative Deconstruction
We were interested in documenting the deconstruction in a number of ways. Video, photography, through social media channels, aurally and more. Thanks to those who helped out here and keep watching our website for images, sounds and more. 

Why was the Pallet Pavilion taken down?

The Pallet Pavilion was always meant to be temporary. And actually, it was on site for a whole year longer than we first intended! It was only meant to be a 5-month Summer project from December 2012 – April 2013. And now here we are in 2014.

After the Pavilion’s first Summer so many people called for it to stay that Gap Filler ran a crowdfunding campaign on PledgeMe to decide its fate. Incredibly, $82 000 was raised in just 29 days, the target was met, decision made and the Pavilion stayed for another whole year. It was a wonderful expression of the goodwill and community-togetherness that the project had captured. It was such a special thing to have happened. But all goods things must end.

Gap Filler Trust was set up to experiment and field-test new ideas for the city. Our ‘failed’ experiments can end quickly (at relatively low cost); our successful ones can carry on, and wherever possible we will gift them to others or rely on networks of volunteers to look after them. That way, we’re able to keep experimenting and bringing new ideas to life. We’re not set up to run a major events venue and bar. It’s a huge amount of work and the running costs are high. So, we hope the Pallet Pavilion inspires someone else to create something similar (and smarter; we’re happy to help) in Christchurch and Gap Filler is looking ahead to new big urban experiments…

So there you have it folks. It’s not that we have to leave the land and no one made us take it down; it’s our decision based on the above factors.

Why did the Pallet Pavilion cost so much to run?
Our big blue friend had a fatal flaw: the Fire Service required us to have a 24-hour presence at the pavilion. It was part of the consent we required for the pavilion, which was a fully consented building. We’ve called on hundreds of volunteers to babysit, and have had to pay for security (with our Maori Wardens Te Waka A Maui Watene Maori) every night. Other costs included: power, maintenance and repairs, equipment, insurance and a venue team to run the space.

How did we deconstruct it?
Good question. We made some vertical cuts in the pallet walls down to the 2m half-way point and horizontal cuts in the steel reinforcing rods at the half-way point, too (2m). Cranes were used to lift these cut-away sections off and to the ground. We then used the crane to pull out the metal rods that vertically went through each stack of pallets and then removed the pallets and stacked them neatly while working on the ground. Then, they were picked up with a forklift and put on a truck and taken back to their home at CHEP in Christchurch. It was going to be too hard to remove the pallets by lifting them up off the rods at height and not to mention dangerous – hence the crane plan! It worked really well. The photos on this page should help you to understand how we did things if this explanation confuses you.

The role of volunteers

Volunteer participation has been key to the Pallet Pavilion from start to finish. It has been woven into the project’s DNA.

The vision for the pavilion was to build a piece of temporary architecture from a modular item with the help of volunteers. This constraint impacted upon the design as it had to allow for unskilled people to put it together and as such had to be simple and safe. The Pavilion was then to live as a community venue, run with the help of volunteers before it was then dismantled. This would be done by volunteers once again, with the composite elements of the Pavilion returning to where they came (pallets fruit crates, some plants) or going on to new uses.

In this way, volunteers and community participation are part of the project at each and every stage and we hope, make for a highly successful project.

How do I volunteer?
Volunteering on the deconstruction is now over. Thanks.

A special thanks to Telelift for their support in helping to take away the pallets.

Telelift Logo Clr