Commodore Flats

171 Tay Street, Invercargill

  • Commodore Flats, Invercargill.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 7/03/2018.
  • Commodore Flats, Invercargill.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Chris Horwell. Date: 7/03/2018.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2454 Date Entered 24th November 1983

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 5 Blk LII, Town of Invercargill (CT SL8C/52), Southland Land District, and the building known as Commodore Flats thereon.

City/District Council

Invercargill City

Region

Southland Region

Legal description

Sec 5 Blk LII, Town of Invercargill (CT SL8C/52), Southland Land District

Summaryopen/close

Commodore Flats on Tay Street, Invercargill, is a ‘suave’ complex of flats built in the streamlined style popular in the 1930s, and is one of the best Invercargill examples of architecture from this era. Designed by the Dunedin architectural and engineering partnership of Sturmer and Stone, and built by Robert Richardson, the sleek lines make a strong design statement.

Frank von Sturmer had studied at the Auckland School of Architecture, but did not graduate. He designed a number of houses for Dunedin’s professional and business elite, including Greenslade House in Vauxhall which is a contemporary of the Commodore Flats. Architectural historian Michael Findlay writes that ‘streamlining’ was the ‘New Zealand response to the influences of avant-garde Europeans and the glamour of Hollywood.’

Commodore Flats is a two-storeyed block of flats. The façade to Tay Street is curved and faceted, stepping back from the street. The long elevation perpendicular to the street has a balcony at first floor level providing access to the first floor flats. There is decorative fluting which stretches vertically over both levels. The windows are sets of timber casements with astragal bars on the west elevation, with single casements on the first floor of the east elevation. The ground floor plan shows three two bedroom flats, with four bedsit flats on the first floor. Garages were located at the rear of the section. A separate laundry provided communal facilities.

In 2013 the Commodore Flats remain private residences.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Sturmer and Stone

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Richardson, Robert

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1936 -

Completion Date

10th April 2013

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Information Sources

Sorrell, 2006

P. Sorrell, (ed) Murihiku: The Southland Story, Southland to 2006 Book Project Committee, Invercargill, 2006

Michael Findlay, ‘The Built Environment’ in Paul Sorrell (ed), Murihiku: The Southland Story, ‘The Southland to 2006’ Book Project Committee, Invercargill, 2006, p.316.

Gatley, 2008

Julia Gatley (ed.), Long Live the Modern: New Zealand's New Architecture 1904-1984, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2008

Other Information

A fully referenced Upgrade Report is available from the Otago/Southland Area office of NZHPT.

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.