City Gallery Alterations

wellington 2006-2009

We have completed an addition to the building to accommodate two additional galleries and an auditorium, allowing the existing cinema to be removed to make space for a third additional gallery within the original building. 

The addition is clad in an open metal webgrate rainscreen over a waterproof cladding to help identify the addition as something new and discrete from the original building, and to form a relationship with the contemporary stair and lift tower additions of 1993. The webgrate rainscreen is simple and bold, yet unexpected, supporting City Gallery’s role to challenge preconceived notions of art and design. The strength of the metal is successfully carried by the weight of the existing building materials, while the lightness of the open grate ensures that the addition is not domineering over the original building. The webgrate also provides a useful framework for the fixing of temporary art installations and signage, enabling external expressions of the building’s internal occupation and function. 

As in the existing galleries, the character of the new galleries is derived from the ceilings. The ceilings reverse the existing approach of the lower central suspended ceiling, and elevate the centre with a glazed roof lantern. The lantern increases the sense of height and space of these smaller galleries, while also providing controlled natural light. The finishes highlight the difference between the original and new buildings, and provide a connection with the auditorium below. The proposed flooring is solid timber boards laid in the manner of old warehouse floors and unfinished so that it acquires a patina recounting its age and past exhibitions. The ceiling lining is timber sarking of a similar quality, but painted to match the exposed overhead steel beams and cross bracing. The timber sarking recounts the imprint left on the existing concrete soffits from the original timber formwork. The raw and honest quality of the floor and ceiling create an appropriate character for the gallery themes of emerging Wellington, Maori and Pacific Art.