Ministry of Health Building

Engineering Work (eg road, bridge, sawmill, dam)


Opened in 1982 and formerly known as the William Clayton Building, this was the first office building in the world constructed using the "base isolation” principle for earthquake resistance.

Therefore, this Wellington building should be more able to come through major earthquakes without structural damage, because it moves horizontally in a controlled way relative to the ground. This motion greatly reduces the level of acceleration felt within the building, and hence the prospect of damage and personal injury.

The whole superstructure, including the basement, is supported on 80 leadrubber bearings. During an earthquake the building is capable of 150 millimetres of movement in any horizontal direction. Special separations are provided at all points of interface of the building with surrounds to ensure freedom to move during earthquake shaking.

Design: Ministry of Works and Development
Contractor: James Wallace Pty Ltd

Heritage recognition
IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project
This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of the base isolation used in this building as part of the development of the nation.


No Attachments


133 Molesworth Street, Wellington

Wellington / Kapiti

Access Info
This office building is located at the northern end of Molesworth Street and can also be seen from the Wellington Urban Motorway.

Nature of Engineering
Building and Construction


(Click image to enlarge )

(Click image to enlarge )

Lat: -41.273064 Long: 174.777341