Special Guest: Lawrie Forbes

By Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature | Posted: Friday October 13, 2017

Creative Cities Southern Hui warmly welcomes LAWRIE FORBES. Lawrie will generously be opening his Athenaeum building for Creative Cities Transitions and Transformations on Friday 1st December.

Lawrie Forbes is a boilermaker, welder, sculptor, entrepreneur and heritage building restorer and re-user.

Between 1980 and 1984 Lawrie was an apprentice at Hillside Workshops (Hillside Engineering Group) in Dunedin. Lawrie continued to become a tradesman and foreman for Millers Mechanical between 1984 and 1988.

Lawrie later went on to become a subcontractor and develop his skills in residential house renovation.

In 1995 Lawrie formed Zeal Steel, beginning a new journey of purchasing and re-using old, tired industrial and commercial buildings. In 2013 he acquired the Dunedin Athenaeum building from Dunedin City Council. This was Zeal Steel’s first project restoring an institutional building.

The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics' Institute moved to its present site in the Octagon, Dunedin, in 1870. It is the oldest surviving main centre Athenaeum in New Zealand still used for its original purpose.

Lawrie’s intention is to transform the Athenaeum building into a thriving arts and culture hub in the centre of Dunedin, whilst retaining its Victorian heritage and character.

With the generous support of Lawrie, and Zeal Steel, the Creative Cities Southern Hui has gained access to the Athenaeum building for the Transitions and Transformations workshop.

 Find out more about the history of the Athenaeum building here.

City Transitions and Transformations invites local and global creative minds to source ways of cross-pollination, and develop sustainable creative partnerships within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.    

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