Upcoming members’ events

“Wellington’s Grand Opera House,” a lecture by Julia Thompson.
Thursday, 13 July, 7pm. Victoria University of Wellington, Schools of Architecture & Design, 139 Vivian St (entrance off Dunlop Terrace), Lecture Theatre 1.

The Wellington Opera House at 109-­117 Manners Street (Category 1, List No. 1432) has a colourful history. Designed by an Australian architect, William Pitt, the building’s construction was overseen by his brother-­in-­law, Albert Liddy. The building featured natural ventilation as well as an innovative sliding roof and sliding ceiling system above the main seating area. Within 15 years of construction this system was no longer in use and the sliding roof was rumoured to have only ever opened once, although the mechanics remain. Structural renovations, including seismic strengthening in 1977-­1982, have blocked most of the original natural ventilation inlets but no new system has been added. The presentation will further explore some of the fascinating history of this important building.

Julia Thompson is undertaking her doctorate in building science at the School of
Architecture Victoria University of Wellington. Her research is investigating the history of natural ventilation design in auditoria, and the feasibility of reintroducing such systems in the present day.