Wellington's convention centre rapidly taking shape, with work soon to start on façade

Starting the new year off with a bang, the Tākina build is taking shape and on track for the 2023 opening.

Wellington’s $179 million convention and exhibition centre is taking shape, and the public soon to get a sense of what the finished product will look like.

The 18,000-square-metre facility on Wellington’s waterfront is due to open in 2023, and will include two conference rooms and two exhibition spaces.

The project’s commercial manager, Jack McGuinness, said structural work was nearing completion and attention would soon turn to constructing the building’s bronze facade.

“The steel and concrete phase is due to be completed by mid this year,” McGuinness said.

“That leaves us 18 months to complete the facade, fit-out and services. By mid-this year, the facade and curvature will start to take shape.”

About 2500 tonnes of structural steel is being used to complete the three-storey building, which includes a basement containing 32 base isolators for earthquake protection.

Another 6000 cubic metres of concrete is being used on the project, much of which is being pumped into the structural steel beams.

Wellington City Council economic and commercial manager Danny McComb said the facility, between Cable St and Wakefield St, was being built off the ground to protect against flooding.

It would be raised by 0.8 metres on the Cable St side and 1.4m on the Wakefield St side, because of the topography of the land below.

The ground floor will include a public walkway between Wakefield St and Cable St, as well as a public exhibition gallery and outdoor courtyard.

The first floor will house a smaller, 700-seat conference room and main exhibition space, while the second floor will include a 1600-seat conference room and an outdoor terrace on the Cable St side.

Both levels will also contain meeting rooms.

The main entrance to the building will be off Cable St, with other entrances on Wakefield St and a different spot on Cable St.

There will be no dedicated parking, but the facility will include a 9m-wide service lane for buses and taxis, as well as a service lift that can carry a fully-loaded van.

“Most delegates come from out of town and will be staying at hotels and using taxis, or walking,” McComb said.

The bronze colour scheme on the building’s facade was confirmed in May, with the council receiving updated renderings from Studio Pacific Architecture in September.

Councillors agreed in May to remove 21 parking spaces and a motorbike parking area to make way for the development.

The extra space will allow traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossings on Cable and Wakefield streets, as well as a widened footpath in front of the complex on Cable St, and a loading zone for visitors on Wakefield St.

The ground floor was initially meant to house a Sir Peter Jackson movie museum, but that fell through following a series of disagreements between Sir Peter and the council.

About the construction

  • 6000 cubic metres of concrete
  • 2.5 thousand tonnes of structural steel
  • 32 base isolators for earthquake protection
  • Up to 300 workers on-site