Topic: Rialto Theatre

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Rialto Theatre

The Rialto Movie Theatre was built in 1935 as a cinema for H Owen Hills. Designed by Architect Colin Lamb, the clean lines and geometric designs on the outside of the building were typical of Art Deco style. The building was once described by Mayor David Ayers as 'arguably the finest example of Art Deco in the District'. The reinforced concrete construction complied with new legislation which followed on from the 1931 Napier earthquake.

The theatre was owned by Mr Hill until 1968, when the Kaiapoi Community Centre Incorporated Society purchased it for use as a community centre.

In 1995 the building (then owned by the Waimakariri District Council) faced demolition. It was saved when the New Life Church (now Riverside Christian Fellowship Church) bought it in February 1997. The theatre was recognised as a Waimakariri Landmark building in 2009.

The Rialto Theatre building was damaged in the September 2010 earthquake, but the church hoped that the building could be repaired. Further damage in the February and June 2011 earthquakes made that impossible. It was finally demolished on 14 November 2011.

Rialto Theatre in the 1940s

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Rialto Theatre