A clean bill of health on Molesworth St

Innovation has always resided at this address. Opened in 1982, the building was the first in the world to be constructed using lead-rubber seismic base isolators. Today, it’s a smart and contemporary home for the Ministry of Health.

A $30 million refurbishment and extension of the original building was completed late last year – which now acts as a 15,500m² hub for around 1500 staff.

This development was recognised in the Concrete3 Sustainability Awards, taking out Excellence in Commercial Concrete Construction Award as well as being named the overall winner on the night.

The building’s world-famous base isolation technology came into its own when a powerful earthquake struck Wellington two weeks after the Ministry of Health moved in. Upgrades to the base isolators had put the building well above the new Building Standard for seismic performance and given it significantly more ‘rattle room’. 133 Molesworth performed well during the jolt and wound up as a temporary ‘hot desking’ camp for staff from other sites.

Studio Pacific Architecture had more than just stricter building codes to keep in mind for the design. Because the building holds an important position in New Zealand architecture, any additions had to be sympathetic to its origins. Also creating some constraints was its central city location and proximity to the motorway on the western side.

The “great bones” of the building allowed Studio Pacific to make some adventurous plays. Designed to reference the busy motorway it overlooks, the western facade has sweeping folded plates that wrap around the external envelope, creating a bay window effect. On the CBD side the entrance is framed by sculptural panels and a triangular canopy.

Striking architecture like this needs suppliers who both respect the design process and are willing to innovate. We were selected as the preferred supplier due to our level of service and ability to offer design, fabrication and installation services.

We custom-designed aluminium flashings to fit with the intended look and engineering outcomes. Throughout construction we supplied extensive deliveries to Fletcher Construction and Wight Aluminium.

133 Molesworth St now proudly marks the gateway to New Zealand’s capital city. We are pleased to have had a hand in this important upgrade on such a vital building.

Project:

Ministry of Health Building Upgrade

Head Contractor:

Fletcher Construction

Architect:

Studio Pacific Architecture

Location:

Wellington

Completion Date:

November 2016