Winner, Heritage Category, NZIA Wellington Architecture Awards 2012
Located in central Wellington, Chevening is a rare example of a 1929 apartment building. It was designed by Llewellyn E. Williams, a Wellington architect known throughout New Zealand for his cinema designs, which include Wellington's Embassy Theatre. Chevening's stripped classical facade encapsulates the ambience of the period. The interior retains the original layout, and many of the original fittings, fixtures and trims. Chevening is listed in the WCC District Plan both individually and as part of the Kelburn Parade West group. It is listed as a Category 2 heritage building by the Historic Places Trust.
In order to preserve the building as an example of architecture and design while also upgrading it to 100% of current Building Code seismic requirements, a plan for structural strengthening work was developed by Beca. The lateral capacity of the ground floor was increased by replacing the inner skin of some brick external walls with concrete, and by new foundations and shotcrete to an internal garage wall. The brick internal walls were strengthened with heli-tie bars cut into the brickwork or steel posts, to support the face and hold it in place. Specific conservation aims are to strengthen existing walls rather than replace.
Studio Pacific’s role was to integrate the strengthening with the building’s architecture and complete an internal upgrade while ensuring that the interior retains its period features and character. The initial step in the architectural process was a full internal building survey that documented exactly the state and condition of the interior. All rooms have been given new finishes; however all original timber trims were carefully removed, stored during work, and then replaced. The kitchens have been upgraded within the framework of the existing finishes, layout and detailing, and have the appearance and feel of the original 1929 kitchen with modern finishes and appliances subtly integrated. The opportunity was also taken to upgrade existing plumbing and electrical services, remove accretions, add insulation to specific walls and install a new insulated roof.
The refurbishment of Chevening was assisted by a Wellington City Council Built Heritage Grant, and this is gratefully acknowledged.