Old Public Trust Building

Public Trust 10
Public Trust 10

A positive contribution to Wellington's preservation of character.

<p>A positive contribution to Wellington's preservation of character.</p>

Sited on a prominent corner in Lambton Quay, the Old Public Trust Building is best known for its external materiality and unique circular entrance lobby with ceiling dome. Completed in 1909, it is listed as a Category 1 building with Heritage New Zealand. 

Having been vacated following the 2013 Seddon earthquakes, the building was purchased by Cheops Holdings who enlisted Warren and Mahoney to restore the building’s external facade and entrance lobby whilst it was to undergo structural strengthening. Warren and Mahoney was also engaged by the building’s tenant, Ministry for Culture & Heritage, for the fit out of its head office over four levels – thus ensuring all work be undertaken simultaneously.

A vigilant evaluation of all areas of the project was completed in an endeavor to achieve the best possible outcome. The integration of the main building work and office fit out proved hugely beneficial, both in time and cost, for owner and tenant. 

Recognisable in its original form, the Old Public Trust Building has been meticulously restored. Contrasting the heritage fabric of the external facade and entrance lobby, the office levels have been transformed into modern and functional open plan work spaces, with new services, ceilings, and connecting stair. The ground floor has been pared back to its original expressive form of grandeur.

Through the move the Ministry has been able to walk the talk and encourage the rejuvenation of heritage buildings. The workplace planning embraces the building’s idiosyncrasies. Quiet time can be sought in the old safe rooms, and the heritage team is able to work under the refurbished skylights of the fourth floor.

The restoration has revitalised the Old Public Trust Building, making a positive contribution to Wellington’s preservation of character.

The building owner, tenant, and contractor, McKee Fehl, are all incredibly delighted with the successful outcome of the project. 


Due to the extent of the strengthening required on this Category 1 historic building, which was completed in 1908, some structural elements are necessarily visible, including major, coupled shear- walls at each end of the long, slim building. The design, however, very successfully preserves the character of the building and creates a very attractive offering of mixed-use tenancies. The key to success here was the ability of the client, architect and engineer to collaborate - the resulting strengthening works have been integrated into the building with great guile.
New Zealand Institute of Architects Local Awards Citation, 2016

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