Designed by local architects Bevin + Slessor, with Fletcher Construction as the main building contractor, the new terminus provides an elegant and attractive new arrival and departure point at Kelburn that is light and airy and includes a viewing platform that overlooks Wellington harbour. It also closes-in the terminus platform from the elements for those occasional windy days.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who will do the honours with the scissors at the opening, says the new terminal is a welcoming building that will be appreciated and enjoyed not only by regular Cable Car users but also by the hundreds of thousands of tourists who ride the Cable Car every year.
"The Cable Car is a well-loved destination for tourists and helps provide some of the best shots of the city," she says.
"Because the new building replaces an open shelter dating back from the late 1970s, it will be well received by local residents and tourists alike as it is a far more attractive proposition in the wind and winter months."
The old building needed to be rebuilt due to New Zealand Transport Agency requirements, including improvements to security and weather protection for passengers.
The new terminus was project managed and funded by Wellington Cable Car Ltd (WCCL) which operates the Cable Car service and the Wellington Trolley Bus network on behalf of Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council respectively.
The Chair of the WCCL Board, Roger Drummond, says the full cost of the project was met from company revenue. "The city’s ratepayers will be pleased to know they have not been burdened."
WCCL Chief Executive Simon Fleisher says the terminal has been operating since just before Christmas – and has already proved popular with residents and thousands of cruise passengers that have visited during the current cruise ship season. "Initial feedback has been really positive, and the view over the CBD, harbour and the Orongorongo Range in the distance from the viewing deck is spectacular."
"The terminal is now a really attractive and appealing gateway to the Botanic Garden, the Cable Car Museum, the Carter Observatory and to points beyond, including Zealandia," he says.
The Bevin + Slessor website describes the project thus: "The rising of the Cable Car steeply from the city and resting on the plateau of the precinct is a poetic and dramatic movement. This steep rise is the essential reason for the Cable Car’s existence, and the design intends to convey this sense of movement and purpose.
"The scheme articulates the ideas of movement and shelter with the development of a structural system of laminated timber portal frames. The portal frames are progressively rotated as they descend the site. This enhances the drama of movement that is experienced through both arrival and departure. A simply-constructed roof layer over the portals describes the resulting elegant twist in the roof form."