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New Taranaki art gallery a shimmering ‘temple for art’

New Taranaki art gallery a shimmering ‘temple for art’
August 3, 2015

Pattersons Associates have recently completed the Len Lye Centre, a combined art museum with the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in Taranaki, that features a curved facade of reflective stainless steel.    

Described as 'a temple for art', the $18 million gallery in New Plymouth is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist.

Opened on 25th July, the gallery creates a sensory experience of light inspired by experimental artist Len Lye, who was known for his kinetic and multimedia pieces. The stainless steel shimmering design pays homage to the New Zealand-born artist, with the folded surface reflecting and refracting light and its surroundings, changing in appearance throughout both the days and seasons.

In the gallery’s interior, gaps between the exterior facade allow controlled amounts of light through at various points in the day, creating an interior colonnade effect of moving light patterns on the walkway, which the architect describes as “passive kinetic architecture”.

The museum comprises a series of galleries varying in size, with viewing rooms, educational spaces and archives distributed over four levels, many of which open up to large voids connected by ramps or bridges to create a complex interior spacial sequence.

Andrew Patterson, principal of Auckland-based Pattersons Associates explains “the shimmering, iridescent colonnade facade, manufactured locally using stainless steel - Taranaki's 'local stone' – links both Lye's innovations in kinetics and light as well as the region's industrial innovation.

“By doing this we celebrate the fortunate gift of his works to the Taranaki region of western New Zealand."

The building is adjoined to the existing Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and will operate in tandem with the institution. While separate entities, the two buildings share a single entrance, as well as staff and management facilities.

The two galleries also share an educational suite, exhibition space, a 62-seat cinema, a shop and a café. The Len Lye Centre has been designed to withstand the strongest earthquake expected in New Zealand over the next 1,000 years. The Govett-Brewster has also undergone essential earthquake strengthening during the construction of the new gallery.

A total of $12 million was raised externally for the Len Lye Centre, with funding coming from the TSB Community Trust, Ministry for Arts Culture and Heritage Regional Museum Policy Fund, Lotteries’ Environment and Heritage Fund, Todd Energy, the Len Lye Centre Trust and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Significant Projects Fund.

The remaining $6 million was funded by New Plymouth Council.

The Len Lye Centre has opened with four new exhibitions; including the earliest of the late artist’s sculptures, Four Fountains; a reconstruction ofTrilogy (A Flip and Two Twisters); the politically oriented Our Hearts of Darkness and the music-inspired Len Lye’s Jam Session. 

For more information go to www.govettbrewster.com/Len-Lye/Centre

Images courtesy of Pattersons Associates.

5th March 2014 - TARANAKI NAMED NEW ZEALAND’S NUMBER ONE DESTINATION 

27th November 2013 - STUDY REVEALS THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC ART MUSEUMS

9th October 2013 - WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL NAMES AUCKLAND ART GALLERY BUILDING OF THE YEAR

19th November 2010 - FORGET LEISURE: FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE INDUSTRY


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