Wellington Scoop

Saving heritage buildings – Maurice Clark’s significant commitment

Wellington developer Maurice Clark will be speaking on Monday at the City Gallery about his significant commitment and contribution to the architectural landscape of Wellington through his restoration projects of some of Wellington’s most notable heritage buildings.

With a history in construction and engineering and a skill in recognising smart and cost effective ways of strengthening an existing built structure, Maurice has enabled many of Wellington’s structurally vulnerable buildings to be restored and repurposed.

His City Talk (6pm, Monday, City Gallery) will give an insight into the engineering strategies he employs to restore the structural integrity and inhabitability of a building, illustrated by projects such as Victoria University of Wellington’s Hunter Building (1904), the Old Government Buildings (1876), Museum of Wellington (1892), and most recently and notably the Old Public Trust Building (1908) – a building that others saw as beyond saving after the 2013 earthquake.

Maurice describes his work as the necessity to envision what the new life and use for a building will be. He is committed to seeing that our heritage buildings are not just strengthened and left, nor seen as objects to pull down, as we continue to ask what significant values heritage buildings offer to our city.

City Talks is an ongoing series initiated by the New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Branch and presented in partnership with City Gallery Wellington. Its purpose is to foster discussion about architecture for a broader audience in a city that cares to openly discuss ideas relevant to our future.

Maurice Clark is Managing Director of McKee Fehl Constructors Ltd which he acquired in 1986. He is an engineer, building owner and developer with a particular interest in the restoration of heritage buildings in Wellington. He holds an Honours degree in Civil Engineering and gained his early experience working overseas in Canada, Australia and Singapore before returning to Wellington.

Maurice bought his first heritage building in 2005 and has since been responsible for the restoration of many high-profile heritage buildings. In 2016 Maurice was made an Officer of NZ Order of Merit – the Queen’s birthday honour awarded for services to heritage preservation and the construction industry.

In the same year he received the premier award at the Property Council New Zealand Wellington Property People Awards and the Wellington Branch of New Zealand Institute of Architects awarded Maurice the “Ath Cup” in memory of Ian Athfield – an award that recognises a non-architect for outstanding achievement across all fields of architecture, building and design.