Mercury Theatre: Daniel B. Patterson

Daniel B. Patterson

1880 - 1962


Patterson was the architect of the 1926 Entrance which is now known as THEATRE Cafe.

Born in England, Daniel B. Patterson came to New Zealand in 1910 as a qualified architect. One of his first jobs was to prepare details for the Ferry Buildings.

He became a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914.

In 1915 Fuller had Patterson create the STRAND CINEMA in Queen Street as a flagship for his firm. He was apparently the main designer for Benjamin Fuller almost two decades.

The STRAND CINEMA was intended to set a new benchmark for the industry in New Zealand and was certainly a prestigious venue at the time.

Fuller wanted to attract a more leisured, monied and respectable audiences to his theatres and cinemas and required elegant, sophisticated interiors.

New regulations of the period demanded better fire safety which included better lighting and easily understood ways of exiting a building.

Fuller and Patterson met these new regulations head on and produced spacious but unfussy interiors lined with fire proof materials and elegantly lit with leadlight windows and electric lamps.

Patterson was adept at providing elegant interiors which were easily cleaned and met the new safety requirements.

Central to this vision were good detailing and the judicious use of quality materials including Oak timber paneling, porcelain floor tiles, marble, and leadlight windows.

Porcelain floor tiles - one of Patterson's trademark materials

His design work for Fullers Cinema Chain was spread throughout the country although comparatively few of the buildings or interiors have survived intact.

The THEATRE Cafe interior may be one of the only interiors left which can give an idea of his cinema work, which were very similar to the lobbies and lounges of the great hotels and ocean liners of the period.

Patterson's Marble Staircase

Patterson succeeded Edward Bartley as the architect for the Auckland Diocesan Trust Board. He was also architect for New Zealand Breweries Ltd and Campbell Ehrenfried Co Ltd.

Patterson was the senior partner in the firm of Daniel B. Patterson, Lewis and Sutcliffe.

Much of Patterson's prolific architectural ouput survive and include banks, fire stations, hotels and churches as well as commercial, administrative and residential buildings throughout the Auckland province.

Most notable of these buildings in Auckland are several branches of the Auckland Savings Bank which are all variations on one design and were thus intended as a 'House Style".

Former ASB Branch Jervois Road

The nearby 1944 Fire Station on the corner of Pitt Street and Greys Avenue is probably one one of the best examples of Streamline Art-Deco Moderne in Auckland.

1944 Central Fire Station

Buildings produced by the firm of Daniel B. Patterson, Lewis and Sutcliffe.





Daniel B. Patterson died 7th May 1962 aged 82.