“This project is not just about creating more dynamic and flexible spaces for art, it is about programming those spaces in ways that will ultimately expand the audience for art“ says Chris Saines, Gallery Director.
“Fjmt in association with Archimedia were awarded this important project following an international design competition. The culturally significant project will provide an urban focus, diverse cultural experience and create a unique opportunity to reveal and interpret the history of the site and to revitalise an important part of the city.
Relating as much to the organic forms of the landscape as it does to the architectural order and character of the noteworthy heritage buildings, the gallery is characterised by a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies creating a memorable image and character referencing the beautiful overhanging tree canopy of adjacent Albert Park.
The project incorporates contemporary and heritage buildings, new entry forecourt, flexible atrium/function space and new and refurbished gallery areas that will double the gallery’s curatorial capacity, and an array of international state-of-the art back-of house areas.” Description of fjmt.
The new Auckland Art Gallery has developed from a concept that relates as much to the organic natural forms of the landscape as it does from architectural order and character of the important heritage buildings.
The new building is characterized by a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the entry forecourt, atrium and gallery areas. These light profiled forms ‘hover’ over the stone walls and terraces creating a memorable image and character closely related to the beautiful overhanging canopy of Pohutukawa Trees.
The built canopies are made from natural timber folded into organic geometric forms and supported on slender profiled shafts. These emblematic forms will give a unique identity and image to the gallery that is inspired by the natural landscape of the site.
While the hovering roof canopies draw on natural forms they are also closely related to the scale, proportions and detail of the architecture of the existing gallery. A careful study of the relative dimensions, proportions and alignments has determined the final form and positioning of the new elements to create a complement with the proud turn-of-the century architecture of the original gallery.
Below the hovering canopies of the new gallery a great transparency is created to allow views through, into and out of the gallery circulation and display spaces into the green landscape of Albert Park. In this way the gallery will ‘open’ to the park and public spaces in an inviting and engaging gesture of welcome.
Location: Auckland, New Zeland
Architects: fjmt, Archimedia
Main contractor: Hawkins Construction Ltd
Client: Auckland Art Gallery
Award: RIBA International Awards 2012
Photographs: Jonh Gollings, Patrick Reynolds