Project in Detail
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Sydney, Australia
fjmt + Archimedia (Architects in Association), Australia
World Architecture Festival 2013 - World Building of the Year
World Architecture Festival 2013 - Category Winner
John Gollings - Gollings Photography
The new Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki is an extensive public project that
includes the restoration and adaption of heritage buildings; a new building
extension which more than doubles the public exhibition areas; extensive
basement storage and support areas; and the redesign of adjacent areas of
The architecture has developed from a concept which relates as much to the
organic natural forms of the landscape as it does from the architectural order and
character of the heritage buildings.
The new building is characterised by a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that
define and cover the entry forecourt, atrium and gallery areas. These light,
profiled forms are inspired by the adjacent canopy of pohutukawa trees and
‘hover’ over the stone walls and terraces that reinterpret the natural topography of
the site. The ceilings of the canopies are assembled from carefully selected
Kauri, profiled into precise geometric patterns and supported on slender and
tapering shafts. These emblematic forms give the Gallery a unique identity that is
inspired by the natural landscape of the site.
A detailed study of the relative dimensions, proportions and alignments
determined the final form and positioning of the new elements, creating a finely
crafted complement to the heritage buildings.
Between the stepped stone podium and hovering canopies, an openness and
transparency is created to allow views through, into and out of the Gallery
circulation and display spaces into the green landscape of Albert Park. In this way
the Gallery opens to the park and adjoining public spaces in an inviting and
engaging gesture of welcome.
The entry sequence into the Gallery follows a progression from the street
forecourt, under a generous and welcoming canopy, through into a lower foyer to
emerge via a broad stair into the large light-filled atrium. The atrium provides a
central orientation and display space for visitors. Gallery circulation extends from
the main atrium in a clear series of loops interconnecting all Gallery spaces via
the smaller southern atrium which mediates the junction between the new
insertion and the existing Wellesley Wing.
A wide range of diverse exhibition spaces and rooms are created, both fixed and
flexible, formal and informal, heritage and contemporary, naturally-lit and
artificially-lit, open and closed, high spaces and lower spaces.
The operations, servicing and ‘back of house’ facilities are distributed in extended
basement areas, with specialist conservation areas and administration space
woven into the multiple levels of the Kitchener Wing.
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
fjmt + Archimedia (Architects in Association)