fearon hay architects of new zealand have revitalized 'the imperial buildings' in downtown auckland. the culturally rich buildings originally built between 1886 and 1911 now provide five levels of bars, dining along commercial office and retail spaces. additionally, a new street aptly named 'imperial lane' has been carved through the once closed-off edifices to activate previously inaccessible components
of the project through internal circulation components. navigating the change in grade across the site, the inclined service-way houses the public food establishments with stepped tables that follow the contours of the ground plane, creating a new hub for socialization.
light shafts of semi-translucent glass panes within metal frames penetrate the floors to naturally illuminate each section and expose the discovered brickwork, stone, timber trusses and weathered concrete structure. slender blackened steel members and corrugated metal panels support these original elements without distracting from their industrial character. a centrally located spiral staircase connects
the new interior road with a large courtyard on the first storey which was re-purposed from the old service light well, and contains several stairs and balconies linking the upper levels to the open area.