The Royal Institute of British Architects has selected the Auckland Art Gallery as the winner of the International Award for Architectural Excellence. Only 12 buildings are recognized each year by the Institute, which honors the most eco-friendly, dramatic and imaginative buildings on the planet.
Two architecture firms, Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp and Archimedia, were given the task of designing the upgrade for the building, and construction to upgrade and expand the Art Gallery was completed in late 2011.
The project cost a total of $121 million and was funded in part by the former Auckland City Council ($56.1 million). The balance of the funds came from the central government and the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation. The latter organization committed to raising $33.4 million to pay for the project.
The main building had been closed to the public during the restoration and development. From 2008 to the reopening, exhibitions and events were open to the public at the new Gallery, located across the road from the main building.
The new design for the Art Gallery incorporated the building’s existing structure and character, adding new landscaped terraced areas and paved platforms to create a pedestrian walkway.
One of the most striking features of the design are the canopies which cover the entrance into the court, atrium and gallery areas of the building.
The Auckland Art Gallery now has several large galleries which may be used for various types of displays. Museum curators and staff have more flexibility when choosing how to display items which will be exhibited at the Gallery so that each exhibit is displayed in a unique and attractive manner.
All photo credits: Auckland Art Gallery