This distinctive red brick building was built in 1888 and has Heritage New Zealand’s highest Category 1 rating, ranked “precious for its age, history, design and remarkably original condition”. Only superficial changes have been made to the building in the past 130 years, its heritage listing shows.
The presbytery remains quite original for its condition and is reputed to be the oldest continuously occupied house in the CBD. Heritage specialist Salmond Reed Architects prepared a conservation plan in 2015 and a heritage impact assessment of alterations and the seismic upgrade in 2016.
Along with all restoration work, the entire building has been completely rewired inside and out by No Shock. “This is a very satisfying project to be involved in and it’s great to help preserve the history of our city,” says Shamus of No Shock. “The kauri and rimu ceilings in the building are magnificent – it’s excellent to see these restored to their former beauty. Also, one challenge was finding the right heritage light switches and fittings, as they had to be as close as possible to the original thing. These days, though, you can just about find anything if you search hard enough.”
The size and detail of the restoration means it will be ongoing for some time. Next time you drive up Hobson Street be sure to take a look at this piece of history you probably usually drive past without a second thought.
The building had several challenges, which significantly impacted its useability in a modern world. Given the age of the building and that it was built on reclaimed land more than a century ago, a serious seismic upgrade was needed, with extensive foundation work required.
The seismic upgrade and fit-out was conducted with such care that externally there are no visible traces of the building having been seismically upgraded (this work picked up a Merit Award, Hawkins Heritage and Adaptive Reuses Property Award, 2018 Property Industry Award).
The focus of the project was to ensure the heritage characteristics of the building were retained, while transforming it into a modern mixed-use space that would ensure financial viability for the building owner.
The building features two floors of open plan commercial space and two floors of apartments, and No Shock Electrical was contacted for all electrical work. “A building of this age comes with many surprises and challenges,” explains Shamus of No Shock Electrical. “We had to do a complete redesign of the main switchboard because the existing one was not up to purpose.”
“Plus, the original lighting specified in the plan was over the client’s budget, so we worked with them to develop a solution. The result is stunning contemporary lighting in a dramatic environment of exposed brick, concrete and steel. It’s amazing”.
As an indication of the building’s importance to the city, it has a Heritage Rating of Category B and is part of Auckland City’s Heritage Walk.