The 1920s heritage building was originally designed by Wellington City Corporation in 1929 as a ‘Ladies Rest Room’ with three cubicles (one for children) and a waiting room.
The current project includes a full internal refurbishment, tiled interior walls reminiscent of the 1930s bathrooms, restoration of remaining original features, a new clay tile roof, earthquake strengthening to 70% NBS, and five gender neutral toilets including an accessible one.
Careful research was done to remain faithful to the original design says Wellington City Council’s Senior Architectural Advisor Averill Clarke.
“Previous refurbishments unfortunately removed or covered up many of the original features, so this project has been a labour of love, but will be worth it once we see the final product.
“We’ve scraped back the layers of paint on the front door to see what colours had been used in the past and found that it was likely an oiled timber finish originally but has had a number of paint layers since including cream, several greens, and a couple of reds.
“The surrounding trees are also a priority in this location, so instead of heavily pruning or removing them to install scaffolding, large branches were included inside the clear wrap which enclosed the building during construction while the roof was being replaced
“It felt like a glasshouse inside and must’ve been one of the nicest construction sites in Wellington with inside vegetation, tonnes of natural light, and no wind!” adds Averill.