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Sunday, November 2, 2014

New home for Xero - a good heritage solution?

Generally a positive news story here. The old Manthel Motors building on the corner of Taranaki and Wakefield Streets is to become the new home of Wellington superstar Xero. The project will cost $30m so a significant amount of money is being pumped into the Wellington economy.

The new building will be five green stars and the developer is to use an innovative outer skin fabric called Stamisol which will attempt to hide the new part of the building during the day to allow viewers to focus on the older part of the building.

It will be interesting to see how this outer skin is received by the public and professionals and the heritage community given the plan is to demolish the two story building and build a five story building behind the historic facade.

We need to guard against facadism, the fabric of a heritage building behind the facade may not be as attractive but it is part of the story of the building. I have a degree of ambivalence about combining a bigger building with a smaller one, the proportions need to work and I'm not entirely sure they do.

However, it will breathe life into an old building and provide accommodation for a growing business so something to be celebrated.

Photo courtesy of dompost.co.nz (supplied by the developer)

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