New Zealand Parliament Refurbishment

Nz Parliament
Nz Parliament

The plan was not only to make New Zealand Parliament a safe building with high heritage values but a place that would be accessible to New Zealanders. It was to be an 'Open House' with enhanced public access. 

<p>The plan was not only to make New Zealand Parliament a safe building with high heritage values but a place that would be accessible to New Zealanders. It was to be an 'Open House' with enhanced public access. </p>

To date, the restoration and refurbishment of the New Zealand Parliament and its library is the largest and most extensive project of its type ever undertaken in New Zealand. 

At the heart of the project was the construction of very stiff reinforced-concrete boxes in two large light-wells. The heavy surrounding building and central debating chamber block were then tied into these boxes, integrating the whole building. To further reduce the effect of earthquakes, the buildings were cut from their original foundations and rubber and lead bearings were inserted. 

The very process of strengthening the buildings posed a potential threat to their historic fabric, and so much of this was carefully removed, previously-damaged parts were faithfully replicated, and then fully reinstated.  Because of the extremely high heritage value of the Parliament Building, the appearance of the main rooms was not changed at all. 

The Parliamentary Library building was, however, altered extensively, with the western part of the building completely rebuilt as a new library facility within the late-Victorian walls.  A devastating fire destroyed the ornate plasterwork in the eastern part, and this was subsequently reinstated.  

The most dramatic change was the insertion of two new buildings within the light-wells of the original structure. A three-storeyed, glass-roofed atrium and conservatories were inserted into the stiffening boxes, with further office space added along one side, looking into the previously dark and ineffective light wells. 

In conjunction with Holmes Consulting Group, structural engineers and conservation architect, Howard Tanner.

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