181 Cuba St, Wellington
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Private/No Public Access
22nd August 1991
Pt Sec 153 Town of Wellington
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
Although modified by present occupants the building retains its original Art Nouveau facade on the first floor. Few examples of Art Nouveau exist in the C.B.D. as good as this.
Bennie was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, immigrated to New Zealand in 1880 and settled in Brunnertown near Greymouth. In the early 1890s he attended the Working Men's College in Melbourne, Australia, where he studied under artist and architect Thomas Searell. On completion of his studies he returned to Greymouth and set up in practice as an architect. In 1902 Bennie moved to Wellington and went into practice with E C Farr before establishing his own practice in 1905.
Some of Bennie's designs include the Albermarle Hotel, Wellington (1905), the Carnegie Library at Levin (1910), the Karori Methodist Church (1912), and the Oriental Bay Tea Kiosk (1912, demolished 1978). He designed a number of theatres including Kings (1910), Queens (1916), the Crown (1916) and Paramount (1917), all in Wellington and was also responsible for the design of many houses including the Wedge, Glenbervie Terrace (1906) and Bennie house, Salamanca road (1907) both in Wellington. He also had an interest in prefabricated house design.
Bennie was an inaugural member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects, founded in 1905, and was later elected a Fellow. He retired in 1935 and his son Malcolm took over the Wellington practice.
[Source: an advertisment in the Evening Post, Volume LXIV, Issue 58, 5 September 1902, Page 7 confirms that Bennie entered into partnership with E C Farr on 14 August 1902].
Built as Queens Theatre Cinema, remodelled Rex Theatre in 1935
Flowing lines moulded into tripart pediment, slightly arched windows
Remodelled in Art Deco
22nd August 1991
Report Written By
A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office
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.