Bevan Woodward wants the council to get behind the idea of an art project for Civic House. Photo: Kate Russell.

Making Civic House a work of art?


Civic House may be an eyesore to some, but Bevan Woodward sees it as a blank canvas.

The local project manager has a vision to turn the iconic 1970s building into a work of art that “celebrates” Nelson.

“It was a Covid-19 lockdown idea that I wanted to get on with. I thought, ‘let’s have some fun with this building’.”

With its feature clock tower, the building was designed by the Ministry of Works and Development and Athfield Architects provided the working drawings.

However, Bevan firmly believes it’s time the old girl got a makeover and has made a submission to Nelson City Council’s annual plan to get the ball rolling.

Bevan says he’s not an artist, and the “exact look” of the building is not his focus.

“However, I see a robust process we can enjoy – whether that includes design competitions or a people’s choice – people can have a good healthy debate about it.”

And, how would the project be funded?

Bevan says he hasn’t asked for funding but says “the money always follows a good idea”.

“It’s the heart of our local democracy and this is an opportunity to move from the old post and telegraph building to celebrate Civic House’s role in our community, and to promote Nelson.

“An art project like this, it is prominent. I think it’s very exciting and something we can get on with and enjoy, despite pandemics and the requirements for social distancing.”

Council says they are not able to comment on whether they would support the project at this time in case it predetermines the annual plan process.

All requests made by submitters will be considered in the first week of June.