The Woolstore Design Centre started in January 1911, as the store for the NZ Loan and Mercantile Company. In addition to providing finance for farmers, it also traded in “Wool, Hides, Seed, Grain & Manure” The history of the building is a fascinating story of early 20th-century life in Wellington.

The History

The Woolstore Design Centre was designed by noted early Wellington Architects, Thomas Turnbull & Sons for the NZ Loan & Mercantile Company.

According to newspaper articles from the time, a contract to build the building was let in April 1910, and the building was opened for business in January 1911.

The steel for the building was manufactured by Dorman & Long in Middlesborough, England. It was then shipped to NZ with the workers who manufactured the steel.

It attracted attention at the time because it was built using “skyscraper” technology, i.e. It was a steel frame building built on concrete piles, and was designed to withstand earthquakes of the magnitude that decimated Wellington 50 years earlier.

In the 1980s, it ceased operations as a wool store and was refitted as a multi-tenanted commercial centre.

Since then the building has become home to a number of Wellington’s leading designers and design stores.