One of the most iconic and easily recognisable buildings in New Zealand
The Wellington Beehive
The Beehive – the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings - is one of the most iconic and easily recognisable buildings in New Zealand.
Its unique structure, public facilities and grand demeanour has afforded great value for Wellington’s cityscape, tourism industry and the region’s parliamentary identity.
The Beehive’s status was solidified in 2015 when Heritage New Zealand registered it as a Category One Heritage Building; celebrating its outstanding historical and cultural significance.
The story of the design process is as unique as its infrastructure.
The original concept for the Beehive was scribbled on the back of a table napkin by Architect Sir Basil Spence during a dinner with the Prime Minister.
Spence, knighted for his work on England’s Coventry Cathedral, worked alongside New Zealand’s government architect, Fergus Sheppard to design the architecture of the building.
WSP Opus (previously known as Ministry of Works) was commissioned for the detailed design and production of Spence’s concepts, as well as the specifications of the projects construction and ongoing maintenance.
The requirement for an additional building came after the architectural failure of the original Parliament House. Due to prior complications, the Parliament House was left unfinished and in no fit state to carry out parliamentary activities.
Working alongside Spence, WSP Opus’ team of designers, engineers and planners designed a complex to sit alongside the existing building, rather than duplicate the original parliament building.
The finished building sits at ten storeys high and has two floors below ground level. Its interior is as impressive as its exterior; complete with marble floors, stainless steel mesh panel walls, glass ceilings and exclusively decorated with New Zealand specific art.
Its exterior is constructed of high-quality finishes and materials. It’s 20-tonne seamed copper roof is behind the Beehive’s namesake. Its form and weathered appearance takes the shape of a common beehive.
Space is designed to host a range of parliamentary and educational activities. Inside its unique infrastructure are a number of offices for the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers, in addition to function rooms, a theatre for press briefings, gym and swimming pool.
The Beehive regularly contributes towards Wellington’s thriving tourism industry, welcoming over 70,000 visitors each year.