top of page

Saving a historic substation from demolition

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Strengthening old buildings and bringing them back to life is something we love doing! With our help, this beautiful historic substation has been lovingly renovated by the owner, Clark Mauger, from an earthquake-damaged building to a spectacular events centre.

The substation located in Milton Street, Christchurch, was built in 1928 by the Municipal Electricity Department in the art deco period. It is now the most significant remaining example of an ornamental substation in Christchurch and listed as an important heritage site.

Earthquake strengthening Christchurch
Milton Street Substation

After the Canterbury earthquakes, the building had suffered some minor to significant damage. Lumen was engaged to carry out the structural strengthening and fire upgrades. The call was made that the more recent rear lean-to was too significantly damaged and had to be demolished, but the main building could luckily still be strengthened and saved.

Our aim for the design of the replacement lean-to was to achieve 100% New Building Standard (NBS) and ensure the end product matched the overall character of the building. The main building was strengthened to 67% NBS, utilising a combination of:

  • foundation upgrades

  • steel beams and columns

  • roof bracing

  • steel brace frames

  • replacement parapets

Due to the heritage status, none of the strengthening work could be viewed from the exterior, so we designed all the strengthening to be located inside.

Earthquake strengthening Christchurch
Reinforcing steel was fitted throughout

Key to our success was the close working relationship with Clark (the owner), heritage experts, architects and the council for enabling the transformation to take place.

We are proud to say that one of Lumen's own engineers has now booked the building for his own wedding venue!

Earthquake strengthening done to a historic building
The steel beams give a modern twist to the saved historic building - now used as a trendy wedding venue

The Milton Street Substation is now available for events. In you are interested in checking this venue out, please contact


bottom of page