Iconic building stands strong
In the heart of the new city, overlooking the renewed Ōtākaro Avon River precinct, The Public Trust Building is being restored to its former glory and strengthened for future generations.
Box 112 is preserving the iconic building which has graced the Canterbury streetscape for almost 95 years. The team at Box 112 is renowned for restoring heritage buildings with all the respect they deserve – the Public Trust Building stands as a fine example. Every historic detail of this landmark has been considered and respected, enhancing the architecture and feel of the Canterbury icon that encapsulates the roaring twenties.
Built in 1925 for the Public Trust, 152 Oxford Terrace was designed by one of Christchurch’s most celebrated architects, Cecil Wood. Wood drew international inspiration for this bold and grand design after a trip to New York during the skyscraper boom of the 1920s.
With such inspiration, it’s not surprising that the building’s entrance is a masterpiece, and will have steps leading into what could easily be the middle of the Manhattan, via its stunning timber revolving door (saved from the original 1919 PGG building) and into the grand 6m high marble lobby. The impressively oversized steel-framed windows, the original steel-caged elevator, cornice detailing and its feature façade – soon to be restored to its original colour – express a timeless architectural masterpiece.
Property developer Box 112 spokesperson James Stringer says, “Christchurch City Council have shown tremendous civic leadership in their joint desire to support these important projects. In a time where they are being called on for funds from many angles, it is deeply encouraging to see them acknowledge the importance of these structures in telling the story of Ōtākaro to the world and to Canterbury’s future generations.”
Awarded in 2017, The Landmark Heritage Grant of $1.9m enabled immediate strengthening works and protection of key heritage features to be undertaken. The building’s strengthening project is now complete. Box 112 has now commenced the second stage of construction, involving the carpentry, fit-out and aesthetic refurbishment. Completion and the opening are scheduled for early 2020.
“We want the people of Christchurch to have a chance to appreciate the beauty of this historic building,” James says.
The Public Trust Building was designed to portray strength and stability to the people of Christchurch. At the time of its original completion, almost 100 years ago, another local and celebrated architect Hurst Seager said of its design “it strikes a new note in Christchurch”. It’s seemingly fitting, and the same can be said of the city’s icon, entering the new ‘20s – almost a century on.
Vibrant hospitality and professional services are set make this iconic site home. Francesca Voza will bring the basement to life with a Rome-inspired jazz and cocktail bar, adorned with the original 1920s safety deposit boxes. Professional recruitment firm Graham Consulting and award-winning strategic advertising and brand agency Novo will both have headquarters here.
And for the cherry on the top, a world-class tapas bar created by Jeremy Stevens will overlook the city – ensuring the building is one for the public to call their own.