Sunny outlook for fountain thanks to 3D printing

Innovative 3D printing technology, alongside archived images from the 1970s, were used to help Citycare restore Christchurch’s historic Sunnyside fountain to its former glory.

The fountain was created as a feature in the hospital grounds more than 150 years ago. It is located in what’s now the Sunnyside Heritage Garden on Annex Road – the only remaining part of the once vast complex of 19th century buildings and grounds that comprised Sunnyside Hospital, Christchurch’s first mental health facility.

Vandalism and the theft of its valuable brass fittings left the fountain in a state of demise for nearly 10 years.

Citycare’s property team, led by Citycare property supervisor Doug Peek, was charged with repair and restoration – a challenging task using only historical images as a guide.

“We didn’t have anything in the way of an original template or design, just some grainy photos depicting what the fountain used to look like,” says Doug.

“It was difficult to re-create the missing finial and nozzle due to the quality of the photos and the algae covering what remained.”

TWP Design, a Christchurch-based prototype and product development firm run by Doug’s sons Wade and Travis Peek, was contacted for its 3D printing capabilities.

Prototypes of the fountain’s missing nozzle and ornamental finial were 3D printed using measurements calculated from the photos and existing structure. The prototypes were assessed for fit and authenticity, before the final product was manufactured and then fitted to the fountain.

Citycare maintains and keeps the fountain clean, as part of its water feature maintenance contract.

“The rejuvenated fountain has been met with appreciation with many positive comments from members of the community who spoke to the team whilst renovations were underway,” says Doug.

“One lady mentioned that she has lived in the area for about 10 years, and she had always wanted to see the fountain restored and running so that she could sit and enjoy it and the ambience of the gardens.

“My team and I are thrilled to be part of its restoration, using innovative technology to achieve a task that for many years was left unattended, possibly due to the challenge it presented.”