Story: Historic earthquakes

National Tobacco Company building

National Tobacco Company building

New buildings soon appeared in Napier’s devastated central business district. Engineers devised stricter guidelines about construction, and architectural firms produced designs that were both simple and striking. The art deco style, with streamlined forms and geometric motifs, was not only fashionable, it was also much safer because there were few cornices and other elements that could fall off in an earthquake.

Designed by Louis Hay, the National Tobacco Company building met the wishes of the client, Gerard Husheer, that the building be simple in form yet highly decorated. On either side of the doors, roses are featured in an unusual arrangement with raupō, the native bulrush. With gleaming brass banisters, ornate lamps and a marble foyer, this is one of Napier’s most elaborately detailed post-earthquake buildings.

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Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Alastair McLean

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - Rebuilding Napier', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/4571/national-tobacco-company-building (accessed 24 March 2019)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2011, updated 1 Nov 2017