Mural survives demolition of earthquake-damaged Wellington office building

Jim Allen's mural has survived the demolition of the office building at 61 Molesworth St in central Wellington.
ARCHITECTURAL CENTRE

Jim Allen's mural has survived the demolition of the office building at 61 Molesworth St in central Wellington.

A mural by New Zealand sculptor Jim Allen has survived as the building around it was deconstructed.

The artwork was housed in the foyer of 61 Molesworth St, which was badly damaged in the November earthquakes.

Wellington City Council compliance manager Mike Scott said the artwork was intact, "albeit a little beaten up".

"A combination of the size of the artwork, the fact it's made of concrete, its position within the building – and the skills of the demolition workers – have all been contributing factors to this artwork surviving a 5000-tonne demolition," Scott said.

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Sculptor Jim Allen, well-known for his work at Futuna Chapel in Karori, created the artwork in the early 1960s when the building was constructed as the New Zealand head office of British company ICI.

The demolition of the multi-storey office building at 61 Molesworth St is close to completion.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ.

The demolition of the multi-storey office building at 61 Molesworth St is close to completion.

Allen described the 7-metre-long mural as "a sculptured concrete panel inspired by the micro-structure of naturally occurring copper crystals, building blocks of the chemical industry".

"The council will work with [owner] PrimeProperty to support the future of the artwork, but ultimately any decision on what happens next with the mural and the rest of the site is up to the owner," Scott said.

"The council's role was to get the building down safely and quickly, and we've almost completed that work."

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