Wellington’s iconic Centennial Flats were recognised by the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards.
Housing New Zealand contractors Maycroft Construction received a Bronze Award in the Heritage/Restoration category, in recognition of their excellence in workmanship, construction practices and innovation.
The Centennial Flats in Berhampore were ground-breaking when they were built back in 1938, being the first block of multi-unit flats built by the then Labour Government’s state housing scheme.
Designed in the ‘International’ style, the flats enclosed a large central open space and were positioned for good sunlight. A central circular space provided for tenants’ social and community needs, but was unfortunately divided into flats in the 1980s.
While having good bones, the concrete flats, now with a Heritage Category 1 listing, were cold, damp and an earthquake risk.
The $7 million refurbishment in 2016 focused on strengthening, insulating and improving weather tightness. Following an overwhelming response from tenants and the community, the central hall was converted into a communal space.
Tenant Alice has lived in Centennial Flats for 14 years. During the renovation, Alice moved directly from her flat into a newly renovated one.
“I really liked being able to stay and I was lucky that friends I made have remained here,” she says.
Alice loves her new flat, which has a bigger lounge and bedroom and is a lot warmer and drier. “It now has a separate shower instead of a shower over the bath and that has made a big difference.”