Pioneer Women's and Ellen Melville Hall, Freyberg Place upgrade

Auckland Council, with support from the Waitematā Local Board and the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board, is upgrading the Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall and adjacent Freyberg Place.

This central Auckland project aims to transform these assets into an integrated community hub for locals and visitors to enjoy. The community centre will be renamed the Ellen Melville Centre..Pioneer Women's Ellen Melville Hall and Freyberg Square

The overarching project objectives are to:

  • create a vibrant community hub which will become the cultural heart of the city centre
  • create connectivity and activation between the Ellen Melville Centre and Freyberg Place
  • design Freyberg Place as a world-class place that is a distinctive, safe and popular destination, where locals and visitors choose to frequent and linger
  • provide a pedestrian priority destination, improving accessibility
  • reflect the local urban environment and its relationship to the historic built heritage and natural character of the space
  • celebrate and protect the natural environment and recognise the sites location at the edge of a lava flow
  • design an inclusive, child friendly public realm
  • create a high quality, attractive and durable public open space that contributes to a sustainable and maintainable city centre
  • design for improved integration between Freyberg Place and the Ellen Melville Centre
  • support the development of High Street and the Queen Street Valley area as a destination where people live, work and play
  • provide a catalyst for investment in the area.

Lead Design Team

Isthmus Group and Stevens Lawson Architects have teamed together with artist John Reynolds to upgrade the Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall and adjacent Freyberg Square.

The team is supported by a group of technical experts managed by MPM Projects Ltd and led by Auckland Council's Development Programme Office.

Proposed Timeline:

Concept design development


Public consultation


Design review and development


Construction began

August 2016


Autumn 2017

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