Shell House; a great Stephenson & Turner building to celebrate on Wellington Anniversary Day.
Completed in 1960, and standing at 46 metres high, this 14-storey building became New Zealand’s tallest building and remains a prominent feature in our Wellington skyline today.
Shell House exhibited many innovative building technologies of the time - including structural steel framing, curtain walling, and internal partition walls. Perhaps the most striking was its aluminium and glass curtain wall which echoed the design – in both colour and proportion – of Lever House in New York, 1950–1952. Other references to this iconic building included the active spaces of the podium and the tower’s inset first level. The building form consists of a podium and 10-storey tower set back from The Terrace. The main Entrance Lobby features a large mural, exhibition area, 100-seat theatrette, and associated film library. Upper Levels were designed as fully air-conditioned, light, and airy office spaces of a type not previously seen in New Zealand.
Although the prominence of the former Shell House may have been somewhat reduced by the proliferation of high(er)-rise commercial buildings now lining both sides of The Terrace, it still stands out as a quality building of its time and continues to be recognised as a Wellington landmark today.
Architect: Stephenson & Turner
Contractor: Wilkins and Davies Construction Co.
Building Services Engineers: Stephenson & Turner
Structural Engineers: Rankine & Hill Consulting Engineers