Tag Archives: Goldrush era

Prista Apartments: Dunedin’s goldrush-era heritage won’t fall over, unless you make it

Today, I was handed a B/W photocopy poster…

To find out more about early Dunedin and why people want to save these buildings, join the Gathering!

The buildings are located in the South Princes Street Townscape Precinct, and their facades to Princes Street are protected in the Dunedin City District Plan.

Nearby we have Jetty Street, so named because it was the main point of entry, by jetty, to colonial Dunedin’s commercial heart. The original harbour edge (before reclamation occurred) was in very close proximity to Princes Street.

These are not the first buildings erected in the street, they are the more solid ‘replacements’ financed on the proceeds of the Central Otago goldrush. They date to the 1860s-70s. They are a rare and unique remnant of a significant time in Dunedin’s commercial history and establishment.

The buildings are intact and, according to one of New Zealand’s leading structural engineers, Lou Robinson of Dunedin (a recognised specialist in earthquake strengthening), the facades are “simple” to strengthen and retain. The cost of retaining the facades is not prohibitive.

The same follows for the buildings themselves given their brick construction.

The Dunedin City Council “is of a mind” to grant the application to redevelop the site for apartments, with ground floor retail and first floor carparking – conditional to the applicant providing a new facade design that better meets the townscape precinct values.

Why would anyone take out authentic heritage fabric and replace it with what we hear could be mimicry of Victorian/Edwardian building details.

The Christchurch-based developer has been asked to submit a new facade design by 1 July 2010.

“Counting down” is a poor turn of phrase in the circumstances.

The organisers of the Save Historic Buildings Gathering welcome your participation this Saturday.

Those interested in earthquake strengthening, sustainable built environment, sustainable building approaches, embodied energy and lowering our carbon footprint can swap notes at the Gathering.

Keeping the buildings and adaptively re-using them, given their handy location in the CBD, is not just about aesthetics, cultural history and bygone eras, it’s also about preserving our heritage as a generator of economic development and attending to the quality and identity of ‘our place’.

[updated 18.6.13]

Related Posts and Comments:
4.3.11 Reaction to another instance of unthinking ad-hocism from City Hall
15.9.10 Prista Apartments: Wrote this. Said this with a slight variation http://bit.ly/cTOrhv
13.9.10 Same again, Dunedin City District Plan about to be ignored
11.2.10 Note to DCC, via New Jersey
24.1.10 Prista Apartments: 372-392 Princes St and 11 Stafford St

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Project management, Urban design