$19m Lopdell Precinct and new gallery unveiled
28 October 2014
$19m Lopdell Precinct and new gallery unveiled
A civic opening ceremony and free family day featuring arts, music and film will celebrate completion of the $19million Lopdell Precinct redevelopment in Titirangi this Saturday (1 November).
The two-year project has been a partnership between Waitakere Ranges Local Board and Lopdell House Development Trust, with funding support from the Trusts Community Foundation, NZ Lotteries Commission and ASB Community Trust.
Work has included installation of a new parking deck, seismic-strengthening and heritage restoration of the iconic Lopdell House, renovation of the historic “Treasure House” and the construction of a new gallery, Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery.
The stunning new gallery, designed by Mitchell & Stout and built by NZ Strong, is the last stage of the development to be finished and offers world-class, purpose-built facilities – including five gallery spaces – spread over three floors.
“It has been amazing to watch this wonderful project taking shape,” says local board chair Sandra Coney.
“It has been a true collaboration between council and Lopdell House Development Trust to deliver a quality arts, theatre and cultural community complex.
“A key outcome of our local board plan is positioning Titirangi as the arts hub for our area, benefitting our communities and local businesses, but we know Lopdell Precinct will also become a destination for all Aucklanders.”
The precinct is home to Lopdell Gallery, The McCahon House Trust, Titirangi Theatre Company and Upstairs Art Gallery, all of whom were temporarily housed in New Lynn while construction took place.
The site is also home to commercial tenants and a cafe on the ground floor of Lopdell House will open in early 2015.
The official opening of the Precinct and the new Te Uru gallery represents the end of a fund-raising journey that has taken the Lopdell House Development Trust more than 12 years to complete.
“The vision was to restore an iconic architectural treasure, create a new one and make the Lopdell Precinct a creative heart for the region and the west. We truly believe we have achieved that,” says Lopdell House Development Trust chair Terry Bates.
“The successful completion of the project is testament to the vision and dogged work of the trustees, the power of the partnership with the local board and the generosity of our philanthropic supporters.
“Auckland Council picked up the baton from Waitakere City Council and strengthened the commitment by providing $12.9 million of the required funding.
“The sizeable contributions from the Trusts Community Foundation, Lotteries, and ASB Community Trust were critical to our success.
“Over a fifth of the construction budget came from the foundation, which should leave no one in any doubt about the value of licensing trusts to our communities in the west.”
Following the official opening by Mayor Len Brown from 9am-10am, the entire precinct will be open to the public between 10am and 4.30pm with tours, films, kids arts’ activities and music for people of all ages to enjoy.
Lopdell House started life as a luxury hotel in the early 1930s, became an educational facility for the deaf and was purchased by the local council to be used as an arts and cultural facility in 1982.
The seismic-strengthening and refurbishment of Lopdell House included restoration of the rooftop garden with its panoramic views of the Manukau Harbour.
Te Uru, or Te Hau a uru, makes reference to the west wind, a powerful characteristic of the region and important story for local iwi, Te Kawerau a Maki.
Opening exhibitions include:
• The works of multi-award winning Japanese ceramicist and teacher Takeshi Yasuda, a judge at this year’s Portage Ceramic Awards, which will be held at Lopdell on 6 November.
• They Say Ten Thousand Years, in which artist Amy Howden-Chapman looks back at the strategies of New Zealand's Nuclear Free movement through the lens of the current struggle to avert catastrophic climate change.
• Te Hau a Uru: A Message from the West – the first of many exhibitions which will acknowledge the stories of local iwi.
The director of Lopdell House Gallery is Andrew Clifford. Clifford worked as a curator at The University of Auckland’s Gus Fisher Gallery from 2007. He has developed exhibitions with important national and international artists, and is a renowned arts writer with contributions to leading journals throughout New Zealand and internationally, including Art New Zealand, Art & Australia and Hong Kong-based Art Asia Pacific.
For more information about Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, visit www.teuru.org.nz