The St James Theatre has been an icon of the Capital since its opening in 1912. But the 1600-seat theatre was yellow-stickered in 2015 after an engineering assessment estimated it met only 20-30% of building code.
Maycroft were engaged under an ECI contract to provide early buildability advice before delivering the significant restoration and seismic strengthening works to bring the theatre up to 67% of building code.
The ECI framework was well-suited to working in a Category 1 Heritage listed building like the St James. Having the opportunity to fully understand the building in advance enabled us to work through challenges, reduce risk and offer beneficial cost savings to the Client. It also enabled us to engage with key stakeholders like the Royal New Zealand Ballet (who call the St James Theatre home) to ensure our programming and construction approach delivered the best outcomes for them.
To complete the restoration works, over 100 tonnes of structural steel was installed into the historic theatre - a delicate undertaking to say the least. Point Cloud software was used to digitally map the theatre so that we could work out how best to install the steel in advance – saving time on site and preventing any damage to the building’s heritage fabric. Point Cloud also offered another advantage – allowing us close out detailing and identify any potential clashes in advance.
Our scope also included sprayed concrete shear walls inside the building, ischebeck drilled ground anchors, installation of fibre-reinforced plastic and repairs to heritage plasterwork. Complex temporary works were needed to access some of the hard-to-reach spots within the theatre.
All our work was undertaken with meticulous care to protect the St James’ heritage features and to ensure the finished product meets the standard expected for a performance venue.
Adding further challenge, the St James is located right on Courtney Place – requiring significant interface with neighbouring businesses and the public. We planned all our works carefully to minimise disruption and keep the public safe.
We’re delighted to have been part of restoring such an important part of the Wellington’s history. The restoration works will safeguard the St James for the future, ensuring this grand old venue remains at the heart of the Capital’s art scene for many years to come.