Ansett Tower (Former T & G Building)

16-22 Broadway, Palmerston North

  • Ansett Tower (Former T & G Building).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.
  • Ansett Tower (Former T & G Building). Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org.
    Copyright: Schwede66. Taken By: Schwede66 - Wikimedia Commons. Date: 28/01/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7375 Date Entered 13th February 1997

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Palmerston North City

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Sec 1 Lot 1 DP 11238, Township of Palmerston North

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical.

Ansett Tower was built in 1938 for the T &G Mutual Life Society, an important Australasian insurer. Ever since that time the art deco building has had landscape significance for Palmerston North.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural:

Ansett Tower (former T & G Building) is an important landmark in the urban design of central Palmerston North. It has apparently been an admired city landmark since its construction. It was the tallest building in the city when it was built in 1938, and is still visible from the countryside around.

This is a well-designed Art Deco building. Style indicators are:

- ziggurat tower;

- pronounced vertical elements on the facade;

- articulated skyline;

- shallow wall planes.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

It is difficult to judge the extent to which the building reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand's history because of limited information on the ownership or use of the place. Originally known as the T&G Building, Ansett Tower was built in 1938 on a vacant site on Broadway, Palmerston North, for the Melbourne-based T&G company. The building was large and ostentatious and was clearly designed to enhance the company's presence in the expanding city of Palmerston North. Its importance as a symbol of that period of Palmerston North's economic growth is considerable; its national significance in relation to T&G or the insurance industry is uncertain.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

DATE: 1938

ARCHITECT: A & K Henderson (Melbourne)

No information has been provided about the Australian architects. The supervising architects were the firm of Mitchell and Mitchell, a leading Wellington architectural practice. The brothers C.H. and AH. Mitchell supervised the erection of the T &G Building in Wellington (Category II ).

STYLE CODE: 39 Inter War Art Deco

DESIGN:

Ansett Tower was built in 1938 as the T & G Building. It was designed by the Melbourne firm of A&K Henderson, in something of a "house style", which included the distinctive T & G motif and the ziggurat tower. This was the tallest building in Palmerston North when it was constructed and it was noted for the early inclusion of fully automatic lifts.

This is a distinctive Art Deco building on something of a provincial scale (four stories, not including tower). There is a marked vertical emphasis to the facades, especially the main street facade. The vertical elements of the tower and the tall windows on the facades contribute to this effect. The articulated skyline and shallow wall planes are also typical of the style. The tower is the outstanding feature of the building and houses the main entry, main stairwell and liftwell.

There have been some modifications to the building. In 1984, a verandah was built over on the ground floor, and in 1989, the street facade was further upgraded. On the ground floor there has been some upgrading of retail premises. Conservation Architect Ian Bowman states that the interior is "largely authentic".

(m) Such additional criteria not inconsistent with those in paragraphs (a) to (k):

The Prudential Assurance Building in Wellington (1934) is a good comparative example of contemporary Art Deco design. Like the Ansett Tower building, this was designed by a firm of Australian architects and features an array of Deco features, most notably a system of emphatic vertical fins and piers terminating in a stepped skyline. The Prudential Building is classified Category II. The Daily Telegraph Building in Napier (1932-33) is classified Category I. This building is designed in a handsome mixture of Art Deco and Stripped Classical styles. It is two storeys in height, with a central zigzag motif. The Ansett Tower Building is a well-conceived Art Deco building that can compare favourably with anything in this style on the register. Its handsome tower further marks the building out as an impressive element in its local townscape. It merits registration as a Category II building.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Henderson, Anketell & K.

Anketell Matthew Henderson (1853-1922) and his son Kingsley Anketell Henderson, formed the partnership Anketell and K. Henderson in 1906. The partnership was based in Melbourne and at one time Collins Street had seven buildings designed by this practice. They specialised in banks, insurance company buildings, hospitals and universities. K.A. Henderson placed great emphasis on the commercial and functional aspects of city office planning, including maximum space to let and maximum levels of natural lighting.

In New Zealand the firm was responsible for the design of the

T & G Building, Wellington (1927-28). This design was closely related to other T and G buildings in Australia particularly the head office in Melbourne. After the death of K.A. Henderson in 1942 the firm continued until the 1960s.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1938 -

Other Information

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.