Symonds St Conveniences and Former Tram Shelter


Symonds St, Auckland


Auckland Council



Salmond Reed have been instrumental in the restoration and seismic upgrade of the building which was completed in 2022, not only coordinating the seismic upgrade and major repairs to the building, but designing and implementing the complete restoration of the interior of the the building. The building now meets the standard of >67% of the New Building Standard and has been re-presented with robust finishes and detailing that reflects the historic importance of this architectural gem of a building.

Earthquake strengthening
Seismic Strengthening

The Symonds Street Public Conveniences and Former Tram Shelter was Auckland’s first public toilet to provide facilities for women and it is one of the only above-ground public toilets and only dual-purpose tram shelters of its time.

The  design response sought to reinstate heritage features uncovered, such as historic wall tiling and coloured concrete flooring through investigation and supported by historical research. The interior was designed to preserve existing finishes and reinstate original detailing wherever practicable with the removal of unsympathetic fabric from past 'modernisations' and alterations. The design guided the seismic strengthening intervention of the new structural members concealed within the existing heritage fabric. New fittings, partitions and linings to hide service routes were designed using stainless steel and modern laminates as a contemporary contrast to the original repaired plaster and tiled finishes.

Therefore, there were numerous challenges with the project being on restricted and sloping site, with the building’s proximity to the street, bridge, and cemetery were a significant constraint for the site works and design. The works included re-roofing and improvements to the rainwater disposal system, replastering externally and internally, brickwork repairs and a new polished coloured concrete floor. The tram shelter seating was re-introduced as per the original design. New external feature lighting was installed, which illuminates the beautiful features of the building at this dark corner of Grafton Bridge.

This upgraded facility continues to serve its original purpose as a public toilet and now restored to its former glory, provides a significant architectural contribution to the streetscape to which it belongs. The project received a Heritage Award at the Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects Auckland Architecture Awards 2023.

Symonds Street Toilets after Restoration, 2022
Symonds Street Toilets in poor condition before restoration, 2019
The new bench to the Tram Shelter
Newly plastered decorative detailing and new cast iron rainwater pipes
The interior with new polished coloured concrete floor
The interior showing the restored historic wall tiles
The new exterior lighting to the façade

More projects

The historic St Thomas’ Chapel was reinstated within the south transept of heritage-listed St Matthew in-the-City Church. A sensitive addition that carefully integrates new kitchen and toilet facilities within an iconic church interior.

Salmond Reed Architects specified and guided repairs to the Clock Tower and the entrance of the Registry Building and prepared a series of Maintenance Management Plans for its Heritage Precinct buildings constituting the historic core of the campus.

Salmond Reed Architects is responsible for the specification and management of a complex and ongoing programme of repairs to Auckland’s Dilworth Building.

Contact our experienced team to discuss your project


Level 4, Landmark House
187 Queen Street
Auckland CBD 1010