NATIONAL CHAMBERS

PROJECT TYPE: HERITAGE

USE: COMMERCIAL/HOSPITALITY

LOCATION: FEATHERSTON STREET, WELLINGTON

CLIENT: MIKE GARNHAM

ARCHITECTS: PYNENBURG AND COLLINS

PROJECT TIMEFRAME: 2001

The National Chambers is one of Featherston Street’s few remaining heritage buildings. Built in masonry, cast iron and timber in 1907, it was originally a three-storey warehouse with a basement that sat on timber piles driven deep into the reclaimed land and old beach gravels.

Its timber ground floor lay 1.5 metres above the footpath, so the first job of the 2001 refurbishment and strengthening was to cut and drop it down to street level. That success prompted the owner to add another floor on top of the building.

A timber truss roof was lifted in one piece, using a big mobile crane and chain blocks around its outside. The greatest challenge was to ensure the new roof, which sat behind a high parapet, was watertight. That was accomplished while preserving the building's heritage façade.

On the ground floor corner with Johnston Street, a new bar, the Leuven Belgian Beer Café, was installed with all the interior and fittings imported from Belgium in containers. The entire structure had been measured beforehand and all the parts fitted neatly together when assembled.