Isaac House

779 Colombo Street, Christchurch

  • Isaac House. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Paul Willyams. Taken By: Paul Willyams. Date: 26/01/2010.
  • Isaac House. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com.
    Copyright: Bernard Spragg . Taken By: Bernard Spragg – volvob12b. Date: 31/05/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Registered List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2
List Number 7383 Date Entered 24th April 1997

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

pt Lot 1 DP 1775 pt Town Sec 587

Assessment criteriaopen/close

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:

The Victoria Square Branch of the National Bank occupies a site long known as the Cook & Ross Comer after the pharmacists who occupied the site from last century and who built the present building in 1926 to replace an earlier wooden structure.

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:

Tills handsome inner city building is designed in a Inter War Georgian Revival style.

Style indicators are:

- English-bond brickwork;

- dormer windows;

- six-light sash windows;

- symmetry of facade;

- pleasant proportions.

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:

The site, on the corner of Colombo and Victoria streets, is more important than the building. It is understood to have housed the first temporary court house for the Canterbury province, but is better known for its very long association with Cook and Ross. They ran the leading pharmacy in the city and built the 1926 building now occupied by the National Bank as Victoria Chambers, using the ground floor for their pharmacy business and leasing the three upper floors for office space. The site use history typifies the attraction of corner sites to banks and to retailers.

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

DATE: 1926

ARCHITECT: Helmore & Cotterill

STYLE CODE: 31

DESIGN: Inter War Georgian Revival

This handsome building in designed in the Inter War Georgian Revival style. The building consists of three distinct components-a plain rusticated base with clerestory; a symmetrical, two-storey, main facade capped by a projecting, bevelled cornice; and a mansard storey of six-light sash dormers.

The materials used here are reinforced concrete internal structure, with an outer wall of English-bond brickwork and cement rendering of the windows. On both main facades, the middle lower window has a triangular pediment, and this feature is repeated in the matching dormer above. The effect is to reinforce the central axis of symmetry of the building. One of the architects apparently worked in the English

office of Lutyens and it is possible to detect something of the master's influence in the pleasant domestic scale of the upper building.

In fact, the Georgian upper building seems a bit like a miniature country house placed above base of city shops. Perhaps this is the effect of the comparatively large number of windows and their careful design and positioning on the two street facades. The effect of miniaturisation is a rather striking feature of the building.

INTERIOR:

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

Tills is not a common style, as such. Most buildings in the Georgian Revival style are well-handled essays by leading architects-Gray Young in Wellington, for example. Two comparative examples will demonstrate that the National Bank building is a worthy candidate for Category II classification.

The Wellesley Club, Wellington, (1925-26) is a strikingly similar and contemporary building, although on a larger scale than the National Bank building. It's discreet and formal appearance, and the architect's skilful use of a corner site, won William Gray Young a gold medal in 1934. This has a Category I (B) classification.

Weston House, Christchurch, (1923) is a Cecil Wood design, a house of concrete, brick and slate in the Domestic Georgian Revival. One can see here the elements and proportions - dormers, sash windows, etc-that are entirely congruous in a domestic setting, but which can lead to interesting effects of scale when transferred to a city building such as the National Bank This house has a Category I (B) Classification.

The National Bank building is not as fine or competent a design as these two buildings but its distinctive qualities merit a Category II classification.

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Additional informationopen/close

Completion Date

22nd January 1997

Report Written By

Chris Orsman, Gavin McLean

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office