The 1918 John Chambers Building (renamed Xero House) is on a high-profile island site between Cable Street and Jervois Quay, within a precinct of restored heritage buildings such as the Free Ambulance Building and Mac’s Brewery. It is listed in the Schedule of Heritage Buildings as significant for its architectural style, an unusual mixture of the building’s original stripped Classical style on the lower floor and Deco on the upper floors, which were refurbished after the 1942 Wellington earthquake.
Originally an engineering workshop, the building has a distinctive 'flatiron' plan, characteristically high ceilings, exposed structure, and windows placed at a high level. The refurbishment respected the integrity of the building by retaining these design elements as features.
The large open floor plates were preserved and new internal cores, amenities, services and plant space have been inserted. The existing external façade was repaired and repainted, with no major alterations made to the exterior ensuring that the building retains its distinctive form.
The building was also classified as potentially earthquake-prone; seismic strengthening work as part of the refurbishment has upgraded it to 100% of current Building Code requirements.
The restoration and modernisation of Xero House is a leading example of the sustainable reuse of an existing structure, a viable and desirable alternative to new construction. It equally preserves a valuable piece of Wellington’s architectural history. The refurbished building is now home to Wellington businesses Xero, Trade Me and Morrison & Co, whose boutique workplace fitouts were also completed by Studio Pacific.
NZIA Wellington Architecture Award for Heritage, 2012
Property Industry Award of Excellence for Heritage and Adaptive Reuses, 2012