Beehive (building)

Beehive (building)

The Beehive is the common name for the Executive Wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings, located at the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay, Wellington. Credit for the design is usually given to Scottish architect Sir Basil Spence, who made a rough sketch on the back of a dinner napkin in 1964 while dining with Sir Keith Holyoake. The building was subsequently drafted and constructed by Gibson O'Conner a New Zealand based construction company. Construction was carried out by co-founder Noel Gibson and his workforce.The building is ten storeys (72 m) high. The top floor is occupied by the Cabinet offices, with the Prime Minister's offices on the ninth floor (and part of the eighth). Other floors contain the offices of individual cabinet ministers.

Other facilities within the building include function rooms such as a television studio, press theatre, and a banqueting hall, as well as service rooms, among which are the parliamentary catering facilities of "Bellamy’s" including a bar known as "Pickwicks" or "3.2" (due to its position in the building), "Copperfield's" café, and the "Member's" and "Member's and Guests" restaurants. The building also houses, in its basement, the country’s main civil defence headquarters.

The Beehive's circular footprint (rotunda) is an elegant and attractive design feature. However it is also quite impractical, as many of its rooms are wedge-shaped or asymmetrical, with desks and other office furniture at awkward angles.

The Beehive's brown roof is constructed from 20 tonnes of hand-welded copper. It has developed a naturally weathered appearance.

During the 1990s, there was a proposal to physically move the Beehive so as to allow for the extension of the Parliament Buildings, as was specified in the original plans published in 1911. Due to public disapproval, this plan was never carried out.

A tunnel leads from the building under Bowen Street, linking the Beehive with parliamentary offices in Bowen House.

The Beehive is extensively decorated with New Zealand art, notably a large stained glass window in the foyer that commemorates the country's sesquicentennial in 1990.

An extension has been built out the front to allow for a new security entrance. A new, bomb-proof, mail delivery room has already been built at the rear of the building.

External links

* [http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/HstBldgs/Buildings/Beehive/5/c/a/5ca7931f15ad4180880ca18d0068e19c.htm Beehive information]
* [http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/parlt-spaces history of NZ Parliament buildings]


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