Wellington Town Hall from Civic Square
The Grade 1 listed building is more than a century old. It was closed to the public in 2013 because it was earthquake prone. By law it must be either demolished or strengthening must be underway by the end of 2019. Demolition is not an option because of its heritage status.
When it re-opens it will be a world-class musical and recording venue with improved rehearsal and performance space. It will be a base for civic and community events and part of a centre of musical excellence for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music Te Kōkī.
The estimated costs of the work is $112.4 million plus a contingency allowance.
Construction work on the strengthening of the Town Hall started in April 2019 after Naylor Love was appointed as the main construction contractor.
The plan of work
The town hall sits on ageing, unreinforced concrete piles on reclaimed land making the structure unreliable in an earthquake. The building, one of the city’s most important from a heritage viewpoint, will be undergo major strengthening and a comprehensive re-fit.
- Several shared spaces will be available.
- The 2200-capacity auditorium will be strengthened and any structural work ‘hidden’ to protect the world-class acoustics, traditional atmosphere and heritage features.
- The adjoining tiered theatre will have a flat floor installed; it will be a support space for shows in the auditorium and a standalone space for smaller performances.
- The debating chamber will be altered to provide extra seating for performances and practice sessions and the gallery will be refurbished to allow for more people and better acoustics.
- A new practice and performance space will be located above the Mayoral suite.
- A brand new recording space and film scoring stage will be installed in the basement. It will provide the capability for a hireable ‘one-stop’ post-production facility, the first of its kinds in New Zealand. The facility will allow the NZSO to build on recent success in this area, including its Grammy nomination for Best Orchestral Performance for Symphony Humen 1839 and the soundtracks for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
- Tenant spaces will be re-fitted for use by Victoria University of Wellington and NZSO for studying, creating and rehearsing music.
- The Town Hall will be retro-fitted with base isolators (flexible pads that reduce shaking during an earthquake) and new foundations on reclaimed land. Much of the ground work will be below sea level – a significant engineering feat and one of the most complex projects in New Zealand in recent years.
- The pipe organ, which has been removed and refurbished, will be reinstalled.
On 17 and 18 September 2020 we installed a crane in the centre of the Town Hall.
The crane will be in place until early 2022 to help carry out parts of the strengthening work.
Due to the height of the crane, we removed part of the roof, which will be covered and repaired once the crane is removed.
Changes to road layout outside the Town Hall, Wakefield Street
We changed the road layout in Wakefield Street outside the Town Hall, so construction vehicles can enter and leave the site safely – with minimum disruption to other road users and pedestrians.
The angled parking spaces outside the row of shops and businesses opposite the Town Hall were changed to parallel parks. This allows enough space for traffic to continue flowing in both directions, while allowing construction vehicles to move around safely.
This change means there are eight fewer on-street parking spaces in the street currently. This includes two mobility car parks. The nearest alternative mobility parking spaces are in Lower Cuba Street and Harris Street.
The drawing below shows the revised street layout. The green area is the space behind the timber hoarding (marked yellow) where construction vehicles enter and leave the Town Hall construction site. The parallel parking spaces (in the lane furthest to the left) allow enough space for two-way traffic (in the middle two lanes).
If you have questions or comments, please contact us at email@example.com
Updated road layout for Wakefield Street.
Alternative venues while the Town Hall is closed
For information about alternative venues while the Town Hall is being upgraded, phone our Contact Centre on 04 499 4444.
Build Wellington is the team responsible for carrying out this work.
Project Manager, Build Wellington
Phone: 04 499 4444