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Watch this space – gallery plans on their way

7 June 2005

Watch this space – gallery plans on their way

Plans for the multi-million dollar development and restoration of the Auckland Art Gallery are on track for a public launch in early July.

Mayor of Auckland City, Dick Hubbard, who has lent his full support to the project since the beginning of his term last year, says he has seen some of the draft plans and from what he has seen, the design is stunning.

“The revamped Auckland Art Gallery will catapult Auckland onto the international stage and allow us to capture wider interest both locally and nationally," says Mr Hubbard.

“The development will deliver up a building that will promote even more civic pride than it does today, by restoring the significant old building and adding very impressive new elements,” he says.

The current concept plan is to extend the gallery to the north with a major entrance facing Khartoum Place and make the building more open to its city setting (particularly Wellesley Street) and more integrated with Albert Park.

Councillor Scott Milne, chairperson of the Auckland Art Gallery Enterprise Board, says the gallery’s success with recent exhibitions like Mixed-Up Childhood provides a solid platform for the redevelopment project.

“I am particularly pleased with the opportunity the redevelopment project presents to extend the gallery’s educational programme. Current programmes such as ‘Babies and Art’ are proving popular, an indication that a wide range of audiences consider the gallery a community place as well as a place to enjoy some of the nation’s finest art,” says Mr Milne.

“I am confident the plans for the development will be received with excitement around the country. The end result will place the gallery in good stead for the next 100 years,” he said.

Plans of the remodelled gallery, including computer-generated fly-throughs of some of the interior spaces, will be unveiled at a launch event in early July.

The regulatory consent processes will follow soon after the plans are made public.

Background document attached

The Auckland Art Gallery holds the nation’s pre-eminent art collections, comprising over 13,000 national and international works dating from the 12th to the 21st century. As the leading public art gallery in New Zealand, it has a long-standing commitment to innovative contemporary programmes and to producing major exhibitions of art historical record.

Investigations into redeveloping the Art Gallery began when it became apparent that the main building had ceased to serve the Gallery well. As well as strengthening and protecting the heritage parts of the building, the Gallery needs to modernise and expand if it is to realise the full potential of its collections and meet the changing front and back-of-house demands that currently challenge its daily operation.

It needs this major development to retain and build upon its long-established national and international shows, and to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of lenders, insurers, artists, sponsors, donors and visitors alike.

Sydney-based FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp), Auckland-based Archimedia and Auckland City have worked together to develop a design for one of the largest projects of its kind in New Zealand.

Included in the plans will be: almost double the presentation space for collections and temporary exhibitions a covered service entrance for the safe movement of gallery works and behind-the-scenes deliveries earthquake proofing measures heritage restoration of the 1887 and 1916 components of the main building purpose-designed after-hours function facilities and expansion of the café and shop to make the Gallery more self-sufficient.

The multi-million dollar project is underpinned by the following vision: to create a world-class public art gallery that values its architectural heritage and its unique site to create an iconic contemporary building appropriate to house the country’s finest art collections to create an enjoyable visitor experience that enriches the understanding and the meaning of art to create a strong connection between the gallery, Albert Park, Khartoum Place and the Aotea Quarter cultural precinct.


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