The reinforced concrete Ward Bros. building was designed in 1935 by Ernst West and F.N. Hornibrooke - trading under the name: ‘L.G. West, Son & Hornibrooke’. The owners, William Ercott Ward and Edward Ercott Ward, began trading as Ward Bros. in 1911. The upper floor was dominated by leadlight windows, and by its large, elaborate domed leadlight skylight. Members of the Ward family occupied the shop until 2004.
Conservation architect, Ian Bowman, considers this building to be one of the few true examples of Art Deco architecture in Palmerston North. Its Art Deco or ‘Moderne’ features include the stepped parapet, stylised low relief decoration and lettering, and the zig zag and chevron motif used on the building. The geometrical motifs are also carried into the lead light windows on both the bay windows and the skylight in the ceiling of the upper floor. Even the rainwater heads have been designed with zig zag decorations.