This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Built in Dunedin blog. The first post I wrote, in July 2012, was about the Hallenstein factory in Dowling Street, so I thought it would be fitting to revisit that by sharing something I didn’t know about at the time.
Illustrated here is the original front elevation drawing made by architect David Ross in 1882. It was only recently added to the Hallenstein Brothers archive in the Hocken Collections, after being rescued some years ago from a rubbish skip.
Ross was an artist and a skilled draughtsman, but sadly few of his drawings survive, making this one even more special. The most striking feature is the large cupola ventilator above the parapet. Modern ventilation and lighting were a feature of the building, which has a long gallery and roof lantern. This drawing raises some interesting questions about the planning. Ross had travelled in Europe and the United States and Bendix Hallenstein had looked at factory design in England. It would be interesting to know of specific ideas they borrowed from elsewhere.
Unfortunately the other sheets in the set of plans are not known to have survived. The drawing is the contract copy, signed by builders Meikle and Campbell, and the strikethroughs suggest the cupola was deleted by the time of the agreement. Possibly it was more of a grand statement than a functional feature. To me it looks somewhat discordant, partly because the parapet treatment is restrained in comparison.
Thanks to everyone who has followed blog over the past decade, and apologies for not posting much in recent times. When I started , my idea was to write very short posts, but they almost all turned into quite lengthy pieces. I would like to have shared more economical writing, but on the other hand this has allowed stories that have brought out human interest, with more glimpses into the lives of people who lived and worked in the buildings.
The blog has generated many curious questions, sent to me about various local buildings. Apologies to anyone I didn’t get back to – I try to answer them all but they do get away on me sometimes.
And I have the best of intentions to write more here soon!