A prominent marker of an alternative vision: the Gordon Wilson Flats

Urban historian Ben Schrader has been vocal in his support for Wellington’s Gordon Wilson Flats. His research into the social history of the building supported the Architectural Centre’s appeal against removing the heritage status of the Gordon Wilson Flats from the Wellington District Plan, which would have facilitated the building’s demolition. His work has shown…

New managers for old places

Back during the dark days of the 1980s privatisation of New Zealand government departments, many historic buildings spent time in limbo, as the government decided who was to manage them in the future, particularly those which had been previously been cared for by the old Ministry of Works, which was being disestablished, including Wellington buildings…

Erskine #5 – June 2017

When I turned up at the Environment Court last week to hear the latest arguments in the Erskine saga, all was quiet.  It turns out that the parties were in mediation, which is a mile better on from where they were previously – even the Environment Court judge dealing with the case, who must see…

Erskine College #4

Further developments on Erskine are afoot.  As discussed in the last update we wrote in January 2017, the owner of the site in Island Bay, The Wellington Company, has applied for consent from the Save Erskine College Trust (SECT) to develop the site and demolish the buildings. In April 2017, SECT turned this down.  SECT has employed Victoria University architecture lecturer Christine McCarthy to…

‘I have set up shop!’: Mary Taylor in Wellington

In order to mark International Women’s Day, it’s time to honour one of New Zealand’s first and most forthright feminists, and her connection to a prominent corner of Wellington. The work going on on the corner of Cuba Street and Dixon Street in Wellington, is transforming what was Te Aro House (but which I can’t help of…

Erskine #3

The beautiful chapel at Erskine College has been cordoned off this week (as pictured above) because a new engineering report written

Facades and Parapets

The government has issued a new policy today, to require owners of particular buildings to “tie back” at-risk facades and parapets that face onto the street within one year.  The focus is on unreinforced masonry buildings on routes that have high pedestrian and vehicle traffic in four areas which now have a heightened risk of earthquakes as a result…

Erskine College #2

Pre-Christmas, things appear to be moving fast on Erskine College.  Last week, the Save Erskine College Trust (SECT) was given an interim enforcement order by the Environment Court against developer The Wellington Company, the owner of the college.  

A reflection on the Wellington Online Heritage Inventory

In the second of our guest articles by students and graduates of the Museum and Heritage Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Rebecca Ford writes about the new Wellington City Council Heritage Inventory. Christmas came early for Wellington heritage fans on 29 November. The Wellington City Council Heritage Inventory ( www.wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz ) has finally launched, and it is a…

Silver Linings

From our heritage ‘silver linings’ section of the recent earthquake (we’ve already talked of another one here) the movie reviewer from the Dominion Post pointed out

Catholic Work

The inauguration of our new Catholic Prime Minster today reminded me of the rather sad, and, in the end, futile letter written by Catholic architect John Sidney Swan, 

Retrospective Funding Now Available for Wellington Heritage

In a fairly major policy change, the Wellington City Council have just announced that it is possible to apply retrospectively for funding from the council’s Heritage Fund for earthquake strengthening, which has a budget of 1.2 million for 2016-2017.  This will allow owners who had to carry out urgent repairs, or pay for engineering assessments,…