The grand old glasshouses at the Auckland Domain Wintergarden have been 'under the covers' for the past two years; now these elegant 100-year-old beauties are throwing off those covers to begin a new chapter in their life.
COVID-19 lockdowns denied the dames the chance to celebrate their 100th birthday in October 2021 so Auckland Council is reintroducing them to the public this week, with a bit less fanfare.
“It’s been pain-staking work to sympathetically restore these beautiful old heritage glasshouse buildings which have hosted weddings, musical recitals and APEC world leaders,” says Chair of the Auckland Domain Committee and Deputy Mayor, Desley Simpson.
“The two-year restoration of the Wintergarden buildings has allowed these gems to reclaim their status as 'stars' of the Auckland Domain. It’s great to re-open their doors and welcome the public back in to enjoy an amazing experience,” adds Simpson.
The buildings have not simply been restored; they’ve been made even better.
Designed in the early 1900s by the prominent Auckland architect William Gummer and completed by his expanded practice Gummer and Ford, the two steel and glass, barrel-vaulted Victorian glasshouses have undergone seismic strengthening with additional steel ties and cleats attached to the existing structure, specially designed glazing bars added, and clear glass re-introduced in keeping with the original design intent.
The marble statues in the courtyard between the glasshouses were added in the 1920s and 30s by local businessman William Elliot.