Stronger & better Thistle Hall back in action

2 December 2014

Thistle Hall at the top of Cuba Street will reopen on Monday 8 December following a nine-month quake strengthening and repair project.

Thistle Hall on the corner of Cuba Street and Karo Drive

Thistle Hall on the corner of Cuba Street and Karo Drive

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“We’re excited to open this important community venue to the public again,” says Wellington City Council Project Manager Pete McEvoy.

Work on the heritage building began in April with earthworks to set a foundation for the new steel portal frames that were installed. Excavation work then paused when sheep bones and artefacts were found; archaeologists concluded they were from meals prepared at the house that pre-dated the hall. Once the work resumed and the earthworks were completed contractors installed the steel frames.

“This project was not without its challenges. 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 replaced the window frames with brand new ones designed and built to exactly match the old ones, replaced affected floor joists and removed the rusting steel. All this on top of the new steel framing designed to take the building up to 67% of the new building standard,” says Pete.

It is expected the building’s earthquake-prone status will be formally removed in late-December.

Thistle Hall Manager Treason Seditio is pleased with the results. “The whole team has been great to work with. Everyone from the architects to the contractors have done a great job with this building, the gallery floor looks particularly magnificent.

“It’s reassuring to know that people will be safe in the building in an earthquake,” she says.

Originally built as a grocery store, Thistle Hall opened in 1907. In the 1920s the building was converted to a meeting hall and has been a venue for gigs, protest meetings, movies, a classroom, art studio and, now, a vibrant community centre and public art gallery.

Thistle Hall is a Council-owned building and operated by an independent board.