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An award-winning restoration of a rare Heritage Building.

The former Rehabilitation League Building at 21 Hania Street, Wellington, was built in 1942. It is an important heritage building, being a rare example of a building dating from World War II, and an important design by architect Edmund Anscombe.

The building had suffered poorly designed alterations over the years, and was in fragile condition. It was also found to be earthquake-prone. Originally fronted by a bowling green, later outbuildings had obscured it from the street.

New owners The Street City Church took on the daunting challenge of restoring the building to its original appearance, while carrying out earthquake strengthening and interior refurbishment to give it a long-term future. The owners have named the building “Life Centre”, which expresses its original purpose, the work of the ground floor tenant, and their vision for use of the upper floor.

To date, the future of the building has been secured by replacing over 1200m2 of roof, strengthening to 100% of New Building Standard, and refurbishing and fitting out the entire ground floor for tenant Capital & Coast District Health Board Specialty Services.

The original recessed entrance has been restored, with symmetrical entrances serving both levels. A new stair provides access to the first floor from the street entrance. The new colour-scheme and signage has been carefully designed in keeping with the style and period of the building.

The final stage of work was the first floor fitout, which provided much-needed offices and meeting facilities for the growing Church.

The building was the 'Overall Winner' in the 2015 NZSEE (New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering) Earthquake Strengthening awards, and also received the award for 'Best Adaptive Reuse'.

Photography credit: Paul McCredie

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About the

Wright & Gray Architects Ltd is a Wellington-based, 8-person practice working locally and throughout New Zealand.

Directors John Wright and Travis Gray have over 50 years of experience between them.

Our residential work includes high-value renovations, new houses and multi-unit housing. Commercial and institutional work includes offices, industrial, healthcare and education.

We believe that adaptive reuse of existing buildings is a key to sustainability, and we have vast experience in the end-to-end renovation and repurposing of both housing and commercial buildings.

The range of our projects is diverse, but to each and every one we bring the same strong ethic of service.

We are "Architects who listen".

No two Wright & Gray projects look the same. We work closely with our clients to design buildings that are a great fit with their aspirations, location and their means.

Our clients say that we are great to work with, and many come back to us again.

They tell us that the appreciate the quality of our design, good communication, the respect for their budget, and our experienced oversight of their building projects. The finished results often exceed their expectations and provide many years of enjoyment and delight.