The project located at 54 - 60 Cuba St consists of two existing masonry buildings next to each which were constructed in the late 19th century. It is one of the most prominent, vibrant streets in the inner Wellington.
The southern building, once owned by T.G. Macarthy, has been left almost completely vacant for a number of years. It is a three story late Victorian commercial building, recognized for its carefully proportioned classical façade and its unusual “lozenge” shaped footprint, classed as a Category 2 Historic Place.
The northern building is also a three story building, also left vacant with a slightly more modest façade, but of a similar footprint and proportion.
The Client, sensitive and aware of the context of the buildings and their heritage values has proposed a sensitive degree of change.
One of the first drives for the design in this case were – contrast and diversity, to interprete the dynamic of the inner city life and its rhythm through the fabric of an existing building.
The project consists of two stages. The first is the adaptive reuse of the existing building fabric, and the second is a potential future development involving the addition of two stories above the existing footprint.
The first stage; the adaptive reuse is a meticulous restoration and structural (earthquake) strengthening of the existing building fabric. Contrasting the heritage fabric of the street facade, the office levels have been transformed into modern, functional open plan work spaces. New services, ceilings, and a connecting stairwell to all levels have been added. The restoration of the vacant upper two stories have ensured a positive contribution to the preservation of Wellington’s character.
The second stage; potential future residential development is proposed above the existing building. This will encourage vertical zoning in the inner city and the rejuvenation of heritage buildings.