Former Standard Insurance building 201 Princes St, Dunedin

Building Owner: Exchange Renaissance Limited

Standard Building sign [img_9083eclr3] 2

The Standard Fire and Marine Insurance Company of New Zealand Building was designed by architects Mason and Wales and put out to tender on 9 May 1874. The three-storeyed building, with a basement and slate roof, was completed in 1875. The insurance company remained at the building until 1884 when it moved to new offices in Lower High Street. A series of well-known businesses have been associated with the building in the century or more following.

Vacant since 1997, the Standard Building has been purchased by Ted Daniels and Wayne Marsh; they have also acquired the iconic former Bank of New Zealand building on the corner of Princes and Rattray Sts. Their planned redevelopment of the properties for commercial use includes conservation, restoration and adaptive reuse of the building fabric. Work is currently underway, the most visible of which is reinstatement of the historical facade of the Standard Building. Previously stripped, the original plaster detail and mouldings are being replicated, based on early photographs.

Post and images by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Heritage, Inspiration, Project management, Site, Urban design

14 responses to “Former Standard Insurance building 201 Princes St, Dunedin

  1. Elizabeth

    Otago Daily Times, Issue 4094, 2 April 1875, page 3


    The new offices for the Standard Fire and Marine Insurance Company, which for some time past have been in course of erection in Princes street, adjoining the National and New Zealand Banks, are now about completed, and will be ready for occupation in the course of a few days. The building, which consists of three storeys and a basement, is in the Italian style of architecture, the windows and doors of the ground floor forming an arcade supported on columns with moulded bases and caps, the spandrels between the arches being panelled; above this is a boldly-moulded string between which and the first floor window sills, sunk moulded panels are formed. The first floor windows have semi-circular arched heads springing from pilasters with foliated caps and moulded bases. These openings are again surmounted by a neat string course, the facade above which is relieved by having the centre portion recessed. The second floor windows have square heads, surmounted by pediments supported on worked cantilevers. The building is finished with a cornice and blocking course, the cornice being supported by moulded console blocks. The interior of the building is arranged for the accommodation of two establishments, the ground floor only being occupied by the Standard offices, the upper floors having a separate entrance, and being now occupied by Messrs Seivwright and Stout. The ground floor is divided into three offices with a fire-proof strong room in the rear. These offices have handsomely enriched cornices, and are furnished in a very elegant manner with fittings of polished black pine, cut, moulded, and carved. The upper set of offices are also provided with a fire-proof strong room, and are fitted up with polished red pine. The rooms at the back of the building are lighted and ventilated by two large areas, one on each side of the fire-proof strong rooms, these areas are open to the ground floor, and are covered with glazed roofs. Mr Searle is the contractor for the building, and Messrs Mason and Wales, the architects. The Standard Insurance Co. have, in their new premises, a head office, which is a credit to the Company.

    (via Papers Past, National Library)

  2. Elizabeth

    Refer to for regular updates of the facade detailing as mouldings are fixed to the building.

  3. aucklandmusings

    Great blog! I am fascinated by this project. Any further updates? Would love to see the finished product :)

  4. Peter

    Great to see real vision in this city as opposed to the Farry wet dream version of vision.

  5. Pingback: Standard Insurance Building, Dunedin « aucklandmusings

  6. Standard Building (detail) March 2013Standard Building (detail) March 2013

    ### ODT Online Thu, 7 Mar 2013
    Back to the 1875-look facade
    By Rosie Manins
    Scaffolding has been removed from the front of the former Canton Restaurant premises in Princes St, Dunedin. The facade is being restored to its former glory. Built in 1875, the building was the office of the Standard Insurance Company. Building owner Ted Daniels received a $60,000 grant from the Dunedin Heritage Fund in 2010 to help with the restoration project. Mr Daniels said the facade on the first and second floor had been finished, and scaffolding was removed so the ground floor could be worked on. He hoped the veranda would be removed by the end of the month. It would be another two months after that before the entire facade was completed. Work would then continue on the interior of the building before it could be leased.
    ”We’ve already done quite a lot of earthquake-strengthening inside, but there is major work still to be done,” he said.
    ODT Link

    ### March 1, 2013 – 6:57pm
    Part of Princes Street re-emerging from the past
    Part of Princes Street is re-emerging from the past as it’s restored to its former glory.

    • ### May 23, 2013 – 7:00pm
      Princes St on cusp of return to former glory
      The Exchange end of Princes Street is on the cusp of a return to former glory as street art and renovations to buildings progress.

      Standard Building, Princes St ([Image: Channel 39]

      • ### October 31, 2013 – 7:05pm
        Building facades getting back to their glory days
        A Dunedin street scape is looking right on the money, after work in Princes Street to take building facades back to their glory days. One of those is the former Standard Insurance building. Councillors and heritage buffs got a chance to look behind that facade today, and found a combination of high security, and solid Dunedin rock.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          Huge gratitude + appreciation to those people who are rehabilitating the word “vision”, taking on expense and ‘crats to make my home town as beautiful as I remember – building by building. They are up there with the Amenities people who have been, giving their own time and efforts for decades to adding “quality of life” to ameliorate the ambitious, illusion-sold-as-vision but too often ill-considered “progress”.

  7. Bob

    It’s great seeing the old building restored. My grandfather Stewart had the fish shop in it from the 1920s after moving up from Princes St South where they had been since 1888.

  8. Hype O'Thermia

    I remember that. And Wardells and Wing On’s (George St). There’s hardly any basic necessities available on the main street any more. Except in those 24-hour places, expensive, not big on unmodified raw ingredients for people who do their own cooking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s