Drumming up creative concepts for a stronger Cuba Street

 Cuba St historic building strengthening

Photo: Ann Devereaux, annzstream, Flickr

Wellington architecture students will soon be turning their creative talents toward developing plans to strengthen Cuba Street’s historic buildings.

A collaborative project is now underway that will see architecture students from Victoria University come up with design concepts for the seismic upgrade of buildings on Cuba Street.

Wellington City Council and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust are supporting the project.

The students will be required to look at developing designs which meet the requirements to strengthen the buildings but also display good urban design principles. As part of the project, the students will also develop a model of how Cuba Street could look in 2032, showing how the buildings could complement the street environment.

A public meeting to explain the project to building owners and residents will be held from 5.30–7.30pm on Thursday at Victoria University’s Architecture and Design school, 139 Vivian Street.

“It’s a very exciting project as the students will have the opportunity to put forward a vision showing how Cuba Street could evolve over the next 20 years. We will be encouraging students to think about developing concepts which are bold, innovative and reflect the character of the area,” says Associate Professor Andrew Charleson from Victoria’s School of Architecture, who is a specialist in earthquake engineering.

Around 70 fourth year architecture students will be working on the project. The students will be supervised by experienced practising structural engineers and architects. Design concepts for approximately 70 buildings, and the street as a whole, will be developed as part of the project.

“This work could produce lower-cost strengthening options for building owners and will also develop an urban design concept for Cuba Street which is respectful of its heritage character and its importance to the city,” says Wellington councillor Iona Pannett

Council staff will be working with the students to provide heritage advice and access to building plans and infrastructure information

Wellingtonians will be able to see the concept model for Cuba Street when the project is completed in November.

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