Art Gallery development shifts into top gear
Auckland City Council
29 August 2008
Auckland Art Gallery development shifts into top gear
More than five years of planning is turning into action with major work on the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki development starting within the next two weeks.
Auckland City Council yesterday received the Environment Court’s decision confirming resource consent, which has cleared the way for the construction programme to start.
The Mayor of Auckland city, Hon. John Banks says this confirmation is a major milestone for one of the country’s largest heritage restoration projects.
“The main gallery building has been empty since its closure in late February this year. After years in the pipeline, this is the decision that we have been waiting for to kick start this unique project for Auckland.
“Contractors can now move on site and get to work developing a first class gallery that we can showcase to the world during the Rugby World Cup.”
The Auckland Art Gallery development involves mandatory seismic strengthening, as well as heritage restoration of the existing building, together with the expansion and modernisation of one of the country’s most significant cultural facilities.
Following initial approval by the Environment Court, some work is already complete in preparation for the major building work. This work has included relocating cypress trees from the gallery forecourt to a local nursery and some tree conservation work in Albert Park.
Further tree work will be undertaken within the next two weeks as the council’s contractor Hawkins Construction Ltd prepares the site for construction.
Chris Saines, director of the Auckland Art Gallery, says getting to this stage of the development project has been a long and, at times, testing journey.
“I am hugely relieved that we can get on with turning the development vision into a reality. We anticipated work would start in April, but given the significance and complexity of the project, gaining court approval has taken longer than expected
“Needless to say, I am thrilled that will now see work starting in earnest,” says Mr Saines.
The court advised that it is taking expert advice before confirming a condition relating to the glazing on the new northern atrium.
Once completed, the Auckland Art Gallery will have 50 per cent more exhibition space, new areas for education and events, more interactive spaces for children and families and better connections with Albert Park.
The project is due to be completed in early 2011. Exhibitions and events continue at Auckland Art Gallery’s New Gallery, corner of Wellesley and Lorne streets.