One of my discoveries today on a day basically spent rambling through history from Karangahape Road to Parnell and then down to near the Auckland waterfront, is this: Levy's Building, corner Commerce Street and Customs Street East.
There is information on the building, which dates from 1896-1897, at the NZ Historic Places Trust site (it has a Category II registration), at this site on the Britomart precinct, and via Salmon Reed Architects, who were engaged in the building's restoration this century.
But, what makes this building the subject of a post here, is this:
Set in the beautifully polished floor of the Lonely Dog Gallery on the ground floor, is a remnant, specially conserved and preserved, of blocks of wood which made up part of the floor of the original 19th century warehouse which was once here. The gallery staff member on duty today very kindly gave me permission to take a photograph (it's at an odd angle because I was trying not to get any of the art on display in the shot, and therefore infringe copyright.)
To access the display, go into the gallery (oohh and aahh over the art, it's quite beautiful -- check out the YouTube link), turn left at the entrance, and you'll see the inlaid case in the alcove there.
The sign in the case reads, in part:
The blocks in this case are made from the wood of the Kauri tree ... and were once part of the floor laid in a warehouse that occupied this building in thev late 1890s.
Gilmore, Younghusband & Co, tea merchants, leased the Levy Building for over twenty years (1897-1918) ...
The Levy Building's Art Deco facade (refurbished in 1934) disguises the building's original appearance as it stood in the commercial hey-day of this part of Auckland City. Erected in 1897, the perimeter walls are of unreinforced brick masonry, typical for the era and purpose for which it was built.
The blocks are the only known remnants of this kind of flooring to have found in the city ... When found in late 2005 many of the kauri cobbles had sustained major structural damage caused by the intermittently damp ground conditions at the site. Conservation work was carried out in 2006 at the University of Auckland ...