Former Nestlés Building

Bodega, Brasserie Flipp, RSA

103 Ghuznee Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1931

  • Architect(s)

    Mullions and Smith

  • Builder(s)

    William Husband

  • The former Nestlés Building is a particularly fine example of an inter-war commercial building. The building was built in an Art Deco inspired stripped Classical style.  It was very well built and was finished with high quality materials such as bronze and marble in public entrances and spaces. 

    The building derives historic significance from its association with what has become one of the biggest food companies in the world. The Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. was already a major international firm by 1931 and it built, owned and occupied this building for over 40 years. It has some historic association with the RSA and with popular Wellington venues – Brasserie Flipp and Bar Bodega.


  • close History
    • This building was designed for Nestlés Australasian branch by Auckland architects T.C. Mullions and Sholto Smith. It was intended to be a store, showroom and office and the permit was granted in July 1931.  The principal contractor was William Husband and the contract price was £8000. 

      Swiss food manufacturer Nestlé was established by Henri Nestlé in Vevey, Switzerland in 1867. His first product was an infant’s milk-based food supplement. In 1905 the company merged with the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. to form the Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. It later acquired interests in chocolate manufacturing, Maggi, and a host of other food products. 
       
      Nestlé began business in New Zealand in the early 1900s but, by 1931 when this building was constructed, the company was already a major international concern. Later that decade the company launched Nescafé, the world’s first water-soluble freeze-dried coffee. The company partly or fully occupied the building for the next 40 years.  For much of this period the building housed the company’s Wellington office.

      In 1974 Nestlé sold the building to the Wellington branch of the Returned Servicemen’s Association (RSA) which at that time was still a major organisation. The RSA had plans to demolish the building and build a high rise which would include new clubrooms.  However the project was never built, and by 1988, falling membership led it to lease out part of the building. Restaurant ‘Brasserie Flipp’ took over the top floor. The RSA subsequently sold the building in 1993. Flipp remained in the building until c2002 and was a leading New Zealand restaurant.

      In 2002 the first floor was converted to offices and the ground floor became home to Bodega, a live music venue. Established in the early 1990s at 278 Willis Street, the venue relocated its previous building was relocated to make way for the Inner City Bypass Project. Bodega continues to occupy the ground floor and basement, while the first floor is let out as offices.


    • Modifications close
      • 1931
      • Building constructed (00056:122:B11090)
      • 1974
      • New doors and windows inserted into the ground floor front façade and internal alterations (for RSA) (00058:956:C41994)
      • 1990
      • Additions and alterations (00059:362:E19474)
      • 1994
      • Refurbish toilet and kitchen (00078:244:52407)
      • 1995
      • Restaurant alterations (00061:157:15060)
      • 1999
      • Refurbish toilet and kitchen (00078:1689:53883)
      • 2002
      • First floor converted to offices for Datamine (00078:1760:86915)
      • 2004
      • Basement converted to a bar for Bodega (SR 120160)
    • Occupation History close
      • 1931 - 1974
      • Nestle
      • 1974
      • RSA
      • 1988
      • Brasserie Flipp
      • c.2002
      • Datamine (level 1)
      • c.2002 - 2013
      • Bodega (ground & basement)
      • unknown - 2013
      • Zeal Education Trust (level 1)
  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      The former Nestlés Building is two stories high with a basement below the front part on Ghuznee Street. The front elevation is distinctive for the four large windows at first floor level, each divided into six small panes vertically and nine (three groups of three) horizontally. The windows are held in an architectural framework of fluted pilasters supporting a horizontal entablature of alternating tri-glyphs and metopes, with a plain parapet above. The existing verandah, hung from the wall on tie rods, matches that shown on the original drawings. At the ground floor level a change has been made with the closing in of the cart dock that originally occupied the left half of the façade.

      The building was finished to a very high standard, with bronze, brass and stone specified for surfaces around the main doors and polished dark grey Nelson marble for the front wall. Terrazzo, tiles and wood panelling were specified for the entrance spaces. Although a medium-sized building of utilitarian office/warehousing function, it is notable for the high-quality in its structure and finishes.

    • Materials close

      The structure is in-situ reinforced concrete for all elements - foundations, walls, columns, beams and floors, while the roof is carried on timber trusses that span the full width of the building.

    • Setting close

      The building is situated opposite the very fine timber Gothic St. Peter’s Church (WCC ref 16/352) and within a line of site of the unusual Tudor Revival style former Red Cross Building (WCC 16/351) but has little in common with either building in terms of history, date, style or patterns of use. Instead it is notable as a fine early 20th century inter-war commercial building that contributes to a streetscape of less distinguished modern commercial buildings.

  • close Cultural Value

    The former Nestlés Building is a particularly fine example of an inter-war commercial building. The building was built in an Art Deco inspired stripped Classical style. It was very well built and was finished with high quality materials such as bronze and marble in public entrances and spaces.

    The building derives historic significance from its association with what has become one of the biggest food companies in the world. The Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. was already a major international firm by 1931 and it built, owned and occupied this building for over 40 years. It has some historic association with the RSA and with popular Wellington venues – Brasserie Flipp and Bar Bodega.

    • Aesthetic Value close
      • Architectural

        Does the item have architectural or artistic value for characteristics that may include its design, style, era, form, scale, materials, colour, texture, patina of age, quality of space, craftsmanship, smells, and sounds?

        The former Nestlés Building is a particularly fine example of an inter-war commercial building. The building was built in an Art Deco inspired stripped Classical style. It was very well built and was finished with high quality materials such as bronze and marble in public entrances and spaces.

      • Townscape

        Does the item have townscape value for the part it plays in defining a space or street; providing visual interest; its role as a landmark; or the contribution it makes to the character and sense of place of Wellington?

        The building is a fine early 20th century commercial building that contributes visual interest to the rather mixed streetscape of the Ghuznee and Willis Street intersection.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important person, group, or organisation?

        The building derives historic significance from its association with what has become one of the biggest food companies in the world. The Nestlé and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co. was already a major international firm by 1931 and it built, owned and occupied this building for over 40 years.

      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important historic event, theme, pattern, phase, or activity?

        The building has some historic association with the RSA and with popular Wellington venues – Brasserie Flipp and Bar Bodega. 

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

        Does the item have archaeological value for its ability to provide scientific information about past human activity?

        The building is located in the central city archaeological site reference NZAA R27/270.

      • Technological

        Does the item have technological value for its innovative or important construction methods or use of materials?

        There is technical value in the concrete structure of the building, and in the surviving original features, fixtures and finishes.

    • Social Value close
      • Identity Sense Of Place Continuity

        Is the item a focus of community, regional, or national identity? Does the item contribute to sense of place or continuity?

        The building has had few intrusive external alterations and additions over the past 80 years and contributes to the sense of place and continuity of the Ghuznee Street/Willis Street intersection.

      • Sentiment Connection

        Is the item a focus of community sentiment and connection?

        The building has some social value for its association with the RSA, the prominent restaurant Brasserie Flipp, and Bodega, Wellington’s oldest live music venue.

    • Level of Cultural Heritage Significance close
      • Authentic

        Does the item have authenticity or integrity because it retains significant fabric from the time of its construction or from later periods when important additions or modifications were carried out?

        Despite modifications, the level of authenticity of important elements such as the front façade is high.

      • Local Regional National International

        Is the item important for any of the above characteristics at a local, regional, national, or international level?

        The building is of local importance for its historic and aesthetic values.

      • Representative

        Is the item a good example of the class it represents?

        The building is a good example of the stripped Classical inter-war style of architecture.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      16/ 132

    • Legal Description

      Pt Lot 2 DP 557

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      Not Listed

    • Archaeological Site

      Central City NZAA R27/270

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      No

    • Funding Amount

      Not applicable

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      Not Earthquake Prone

  • close Additional Information

Last updated: 10/6/2017 1:49:10 AM