Thistle Hall strengthening

Cuba Street’s Thistle Hall reopened in December 2014 following a 9-month quake strengthening and maintenance project.

Thistle Hall on the corner of Cuba Street and Karo Drive

Thistle Hall as it is today.


Why we did this work


Built in 1907, Thistle Hall is a load-bearing brick masonry building with concrete foundations built on the corner of Cuba Street and Arthur Street. The hall is over 100 years old and has a historical association with several prominent local cultural groups, such as the Wellington Association of Scottish Societies.

The hall is also associated with significant periods of Wellington social history such as the development of the inner-city bypass and the city’s punk music scene in the early 1980s. 

To find out more about Thistle Hall’s history see:

History - Thistle Hall

The building is an example of Edwardian commercial architecture. Prominent Wellington architectural practice Penty and Blake designed the building. Other projects of theirs included Victoria University in 1904, and the building on the corner of Manners and Cuba streets (which would come to house James Smith’s department store).

Thistle Hall is a listed heritage building in the District Plan.

Earthquake-prone building

Thistle Hall was deemed to be an earthquake-prone building because it achieved less than 33% of the current new build standard (NBS). The work being brought the building up to around 67% of the NBS.

The main factors that made the building earthquake-prone were:

  • the limited number of walls across the front end of the building.
  • deficiencies in the roof bracing.   

The strengthening project fixed these problems. This project is part of our work programme to strengthen our earthquake-prone buildings to build a resilient city.

Improving Earthquake Resilience

Work done

To make Thistle Hall stronger and safer, contractors Naylor Love Construction Ltd:

  • did small-scale earthworks to set a foundation for new steel frames installed at both ends inside the building.
  • fit internal steel bracing to the side and rear walls.

Early on, we found that some parts inside the building, which hadn’t been exposed for decades, were in poor condition and needed to be fixed – this included rotten window frames, floor joist ends and rusted steel beams.

We worked together with the Council’s heritage advisor, the architect, structural engineer, contractor and other interested parties to find the best ways to fix these problems efficiently and cost-effectively.

We also brought in a property consultant to identify and find appropriate solutions to repair items on the building exterior.

Strengthening work and maintenance was completed and the tenant moved back in to the building. We replaced the rotten window frames with brand new ones designed and built to match the old ones exactly, replaced affected floor joists and removed the rusting steel.

The inside and outside were repainted and the floors polished.

Check out photos from the project below:


Time frame and project budget

We originally expected the project to take up to 6 months to complete but changed to 9 months when we began maintenance work.

The Council spent around $1 million for costs relating to the Thistle Hall earthquake-strengthening project.

Booking the hall

If you're interested in booking the hall or gallery, phone the Thistle Hall office manager on 04 384 3088 or email

More information

Location map.



Thistle Hall Office Manager

Phone (04) 384 3088
Street Address Corner of Cuba Street and Arthur Street