The two storeyed brick building is designed in the Edwardian Commercial Italianate style with shops on the ground floor and accommodation on the first floor. The street elevation is symmetrical with a timber framed glazed shopfront on the ground floor, and two single windows either side of a central shield with "AD 1902" on the first floor. The windows have pediments with keystones and the architraves have ears at the base and a rendered sill course runs under all windows. A brick parapet has a central raised rendered pediment with "Hilton's Building".
The general Italianate style was influenced by the picturesque movement and was popular from. the early 1850's in New Zealand for commercial and domestic buildings. The Italianate style was first made popular particularly for large English residential buildings from the early 1800's with Cronkhill, the first building in the style, designed by architect, John Nash.
This Italianate commercial style was a part of the classical revival of the nineteenth century, which was championed by Sir Charles Barry from the 1840's in his design of clubs and smaller office buildings. His preferred style was the sixteenth century Italian Palazzo and he was also influential in using this style for large country houses for the wealthy. Commercial buildings, particularly banks, preferred the use of classical architecture, and the design of C R Cockerell's Sun Fire and Life Assurance building of 1839-42 in Threadneedle Street confirmed the Italianate Palazzo style. The design of larger structures using classical language was easily solved using the Palazzo style and quickly saw warehouses and multi-storey offices and other buildings adopt the Italianate Palazzo style. Architects such as Edward Waiters, J E Gregan, Edward I'Anson, and John Gibson, popularised the style in England while Scottish architects also took up the style with gusto. The High Victorian period saw additional classical styles such as the French renaissance become a significant style, however the popularity of the Italianate Palazzo style for commercial buildings was maintained until the Edwardian period, when the style evolved into the Inter-war Commercial Palazzo style. This was developed by American architects McKim, Mead and White initially for Chicago high-rise commercial buildings, and this style became popular throughout the 'New World'.
The main exterior characteristics of the Italianate commercial style include a Classical (often bracketed) cornice, plain or panelled pilasters, square headed, round or shallow arched windows, expressed voussoirs or keystone and architraves with ears at the head and sill.
Elements comprising the street elevation are the most significant including:
brickwork to elevations
rendered parapet and pediment details, cornice, shield with "1902", window architraves and sill course and door heads and sills, other original decorative elements of cornice, parapet copings, finials, quoins, keystones, swag, lettering, cartouche
timber double hung sash window
verandah with wrought iron decoration
Although not visible the rear elevation and roof are also of significance.
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.