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Christchurch City Council Media Release 25 November 1998

Winning art gallery design announced

Christchurch's new art gallery will feature a translucent flowing frontage, giving an impression of constantly changing light, created by pools of water and transparent and opaque glass and zinc alloy shingles hung on a frame of tilting giant steel columns.

Announcing the winner of an architectural competition run for the new gallery, Mayor Garry Moore said the successful design would quickly become a local landmark and a source of great pride for Christchurch people.

“This will be a truly spectacular building which will capture the imagination of local people and visitors alike. Our new gallery will be a major community facility and an important cultural asset for the whole country. This design brilliantly fulfils those requirements and will make a stunning contribution to the city's architectural heritage. It will certainly rank as one of the most important modern public buildings in New Zealand,” he said.

Created by Auckland architects The Buchan Group, who will work with Christchurch architects in the development of the project, the winning design was one of 94 entered in the competition. The design is for a two storey plus mezzanine floor building covering approximately 60 per cent of the Worcester Boulevard (bounded by Montreal and Gloucester Streets) central city site purchased by the Christchurch City Council in 1996. The rest of the site will feature a sculpture garden, incorporating trees, seating, water features and recreational spaces.

Chair and convenor of the art gallery architectural competition panel, Tom Dixon, said the Buchan Group design concept and the skills of the team responsible would result in a building of landmark quality.

“This design is outstanding for its combination of simplicity, functionality and elegance.

“The assessment process required a design achievable within the allocated budget. The simple structural discipline applied in the winning design will facilitate this.

“The architects recognise the esteem Christchurch has for its public buildings and have acknowledged the traditional and historic building forms which will neighbour the new gallery. This design does not copy the past — it respects the past.

“Although each of the five short-listed designs testified to the talent and hard work invested by the architects responsible, the successful design demonstrated a building which will be striking, workable, efficient and achievable — and clearly best meets the brief which was set.

“This is a building which Christchurch people will come to take great pride in and which will in its own way carry forward into the future, the architecture of the City,” he said.

Inside, the new gallery will consist of ten separate spaces to show the City's permanent art collection and visiting exhibitions, a photography studio, a reference and study library, a multi-purpose auditorium, an education services wing, a bistro, merchandising outlets and convenient parking beneath the building.

The new gallery is scheduled to be completed and open to the public in the year 2003.


For further information contact: Tom Dixon
Panel Chair and Convenor
Christchurch Art Gallery Architectural Competition
Panel of Assessors
Ph 09 486 1126

John Hunter

Project Coordinator
Major Projects Unit
Christchurch City Council

Ph 03 941 6424

Tony Preston
Director, Robert McDougall Art Gallery
Ph 03 941 6975

Christchurch Art Gallery ~ Media Releases index

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