Mt Eden’s amaz­ing $15m re­fur­bish­ment

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - COLLEEN HAWKES

If the walls could talk, there would be a lot of sto­ries to tell.

This spec­tac­u­lar new pent­house in the for­mer Mt Eden Bor­ough Coun­cil build­ing in Auck­land was once the coun­cil cham­ber.

It was where coun­cil­lors met to de­bate ev­ery de­ci­sion per­ti­nent to the bor­ough for more than 60 years.

But the build­ing it­self is more than 100 years old.

Built in 1912, it was joined 12 years later by the fire sta­tion next door.

As with most old build­ings, these two have been through nu­mer­ous ad­di­tions, al­ter­ations and al­ter­na­tive uses.

But none as dra­matic as the most re­cent $15 mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment.

Project di­rec­tor Nigel McKenna of de­vel­op­ment com­pany Tem­ple­ton Lim­ited, and an in­vest­ment group led by War­wick Gold­smith and Jackie Gillies have com­pletely re­fur­bished both build­ings.

They’ve set up six luxury apart­ments in­clud­ing a first-floor pent­house fea­tur­ing a rooftop ter­race with out­door fire­place.

McKenna says from the out­set the team, with A Stu­dio Ar­chi­tects, tried to respect the spa­ces.

They’ve re­tained the orig­i­nal scale and pro­por­tion, re­turn­ing each space to its full grandeur.

‘‘Most of the orig­i­nal ceil­ings were 4m high, but at some point there was some ‘mod­erni­sa­tion’, which saw these changed,’’ McKenna said.

‘‘We un­cov­ered four false ceil­ings in one space on the ground floor.

‘‘After we had pulled out three, we thought we had found the orig­i­nal ceil­ing.

‘‘But no, we had to re­move yet an­other one.’’

The project di­rec­tor also says the fire sta­tion build­ing had be­come a mass of lit­tle of­fices and cor­ri­dors.

‘‘It was hard to see the orig­i­nal di­men­sions of the space.

‘‘We even dis­cov­ered two key struc­tural col­umns had been re­moved to open up a wall.

‘‘The engi­neers said it must have been ‘luck’ hold­ing up this part of the build­ing.’’

McKenna says the en­tire build­ing has un­der­gone seis­mic strength­en­ing.

A green roof now cov­ers the car park, which was dug out through basalt from an­cient lava flows.

JA­SON DORDAY/FAIR­FAX NZ

Project di­rec­tor Nigel McKenna of Tem­ple­ton Ltd says all the orig­i­nal dec­o­ra­tive plas­ter has been re­stored.

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