N.Z.s FIRST ‘SKYSCRAPER’

New Zealand has only 6 buildings that can be classed as skyscrapers. All of them are located in New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. By comparison, Australia has 133 skyscrapers.

The New Zealand Express Company, a nationwide road carrier, was a pioneer in the construction of reinforced concrete office blocks. In 1907 it completed the tallest building in the country. The 7-story Dunedin head office, rising 41m (135ft) was designed by brothers Alfred and Sidney Luttrell who pioneered the use of precast concrete slabs cast off-site. Because it was built on reclaimed land it features a reinforced concrete raft foundation. Architectural historian Peter Shaw considers the Express Company building ‘fully deserves its reputation as New Zealand’s first skyscraper’. Except for the Corinthian capitals on top of each column, it closely resembles Chicago office buildings of the period. read more