BFA signage
DIC 1905

DIC, Panama and Brandon Streets, Wellington, 1905
BFA Collection
Architects: Crichton and McKay.

Following the disastrous fire that destroyed the Hislop designed 1891 building Crichton and McKay were commissioned the day after the fire (26th January 1905) to design the replacement (compare the above elevation with the 1891 version). Design work commenced immediately, a contract for £33,000 was signed on the 19th of April, and the building was open for business by late March 1906.

The new building was built by Mitchell and King of Sydney who used steam cranes to speed the construction. Not surprisingly fire protection formed a major part of the design. The interior was divided into departments with steel fire shutters imported from the United States, external shutters were used on the side walls to prevent fire spread from neighbours, and a dual water supply fire sprinkler system was installed (not the first in new Zealand, that was in 1893). The late arrival of the shutters delayed the project by several weeks, were it not for this the new store might have opened almost exactly one year after the fire1.

The drawings are signed by S I Hallenstein, Bendix Hallenstein was founder of the DIC, he died the year before the fire but was succeeded by his sons.

1. Evening Post (Wellington) 27th March 1906

Continuous practice since 1892... design for your needs, not for ours