Rotorua Heritage Building Complete After 104 Year Delay
Rotorua Heritage Building Finally Complete After 104 Year Delay
February 29th 2012 - Architectural materials have been flown in from all around the world to put the finishing touches on the Rotorua Museum more than a century after the building project first began.
The heritage building was originally designed as a Bath House in 1908 but funding shortages meant its northern and southern wings were never built. But now, thanks to the $22 million Centennial Development project, the museum has finally been completed.
The museum was registered in 1985 by the NZ Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 Historic Building and it continues to be recognised as a building of the highest national importance.
Museum sales and marketing manager, Jo Doherty, says the amazing attention to detail during this project has included hand-making the finials and window joinery from totara. “The iconic detailed exterior meant every component had to be custom-made to perfectly match the original heritage features of the building.
“We have also sourced the rosemary tiles for the sides of the turrets from France because it’s the only place in the world with the right coloured clay,” she explains. “The leadlight glass has come from England as it’s the sole supplier, and the custom-made roofing and ridging tiles from Australia were matched to original samples.”
The museum’s Don Stafford Wing, which opened last September, utilises a state-of the-art lighting system used in many of the world’s foremost museums and galleries, including the Louvre and London’s National Gallery. Not only does it provide an even spread of light, but saves power via auto-dimmers that go on and off depending on whether there is activity in the galleries.
A leading-edge air conditioning system has also been installed to ensure the new galleries have pure air by ‘scrubbing’ it clean of Rotorua’s famous hydrogen sulphide gas. Artworks that feature lead-based white paint (commonly used by NZ artists in the early 1900s) are particularly vulnerable to attack by hydrogen sulphide. The scrubbing technology will enable the museum to hold exhibitions of international quality, and borrow from institutions that were previously reluctant to lend their works of art.
The museum now boasts five state-of-the-art changing exhibition spaces including two brand new galleries. These galleries will host a rich programme of local, national and international art exhibitions and touring shows.