R. Buchanan & Sons Building

1-4/210 St Asaph Street, Christchurch

  • R. Buchanan & Sons Building. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Paul Willyams. Taken By: Paul Willyams. Date: 19/01/2010.
  • R. Buchanan & Sons Building. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Taken By: PhilBee NZ (Phil Braithwaite). Date: 20/05/2012.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1917 Date Entered 26th November 1981


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 71290 (CT CB37D/100), and Units A-D DP 72296 (CTs CB41D/823-826), Canterbury Land District and the building known as R. Buchanan & Sons Building thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero meeting on 6 September 2017.

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 71290 (CT CB37D/100), and Units A-D DP 72296 (CTs CB41D/823-826), Canterbury Land District


The two storeyed brick building at 1-4/210 St Asaph Street in central Christchurch was constructed in 1904-5 for R. Buchanan & Sons, who operated the City Foundry, and has historical and social significance as a rare reminder of the heavy industry formerly in this area of the city. It has architectural and aesthetic significance as an industrial building designed by the Christchurch architect William V Wilson, and is one of a small number of Edwardian industrial buildings remaining in the central city.

Scottish born Robert Buchanan (1847-1913) came to New Zealand in 1870 under engagement to J Anderson & Company’s Canterbury Foundry. By 1879 Buchanan had branched out on his own and opened the City Foundry on St Asaph Street, specialising in ornamental ironwork. In 1904-5 the original foundry buildings were demolished and replaced with the new premises, a large brick building containing office, show room, pattern and dressing shop, and at the back, running right through to Martin (now Welles) Street was a moulding shop. Designed by architect, William V Wilson, and built by contractors, Graham and Greig, the building was begun in 1904 and completed in 1905.

The two storeyed building is constructed mainly of brick, with Oamaru stone detailing for the parapet, keystones and horizontal banding. The parapet has the words ‘ESTAD 1878, R. BUCHANAN & SONS CITY FOUNDRY, BUILT 1904’ inscribed. Immediately to the west is the slightly taller P. & D. Duncan Building, also a former foundry which was constructed only a year before the Buchanan building, in similar materials and style.

Robert Buchanan was a firm advocate for local industry and involved with the Canterbury Industrial Association, New Zealand Ironmasters’ Association, Canterbury Employers’ Association and the Chamber of Commerce. After his death in 1913, management of the company was taken over by his son Charles. In 1976 the firm shifted to Maces Road in Bromley and the building was redeveloped as a restaurant in 1978. In 1979 the building was purchased by the Cotter family of Te Wharau Investments Limited. By the early 1990s it was used as a night club. In 1995 the Cotters had the building strengthened and converted into retail space on the ground floor and three apartments on the first floor, to complement similar work done on the adjoining P. & D. Duncan Building.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

William Wilson

Architect for the 1905 construction of R. Buchanan & Sons Foundry Building, St Asaph Street, Christchurch

Graham and Greig

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1904 - 1905

1995 -
Conversion to retail and apartments

Completion Date

6th June 2017

Report Written By

Robyn Burgess

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Southern Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.