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Naming of Otara heritage building

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Manukau Institute of Technology celebrates naming of Otara heritage building

Manukau Institute of Technology has successfully restored an early 1900 building to its former glory, as the institute recognises the historical significance of having one of the few buildings still standing from the Art Nouveau architectural era in this region.

The building is the new home of MIT’s Executive and was named The Dilworth Centre during an official ceremony on Wednesday, 15 November 2006. The name pays tribute to the original owners, The Dilworth Trust, which built the building in 1916 to house the Dilworth Agriculture School.

The Dilworth Centre was designed by prominent Auckland public architect Richard Atkinson Abbott - whose legacy includes the obelisk on One Tree Hill and Auckland Grammar School - and is listed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

“Having The Dilworth Centre as the new corporate headquarters for MIT is a fitting acknowledgment of the building’s historical significance,” says MIT director of External Relations and Student Affairs Dr Stuart Middleton.

“This is one of only a few buildings from its era still remaining in Otara and it has architectural significance.”

Naming the building The Dilworth Centre not only restores its link to its heritage, but its original purpose, says Dr Middleton. “It highlights the fact that after 90 years the building is still being used to provide education.”

The Dilworth Centre’s architecture is of a distinctive Mediterranean style and still boasts many of its original features, including imported French glazed bricks and tiles, a bell tower and a large palm tree in the front garden.

It is built to a splayed plan, with the building’s different wings angled to capture the maximum amount of natural light and sun.

“It is one of only two public buildings in New Zealand with this kind of design,” says Dr Middleton.

MIT acquired the building in 1989, after leasing it from 1987. The refurbishment of the building as MIT’s Executive Office was driven by former chief executive, the late Dr Geoffrey Page.


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