Wednesday 9 September 2009

Auckland Art Gallery Extension


I’m not sure the old ‘modern’ wing of the Auckland Art Gallery had to go – I’ve enjoyed visiting it since I was a kid – as Tony Watkins says it was “without doubt the best architecture ever designed by the Auckland City Council” – and I’m not really sure that ratepayers really need to be hit with a bill for $90 million (plus cock-ups) for its replacement, but Sydney-based FJMT Architects and Auckland-based Archimedia have come up with a pretty good replacement. (Although it’s a bit short of quality images to show you.)

I’ve always thought that a new gallery on that site would pretty much design itself – opening up the street and the gallery to the park above, and this pretty much does that.  Pretty much. I like the idea of the “tree forms”  opening up the look and bringing light and park down to the street and into the gallery, but unfortunately they’ve been considerably “toned down” since the original design. So it’s less striking than it should be, and there’s little relationship to the remaining gallery building, but at least there’s none of the masturbation usually associated with new galleries.

Check out the video tour of Auckland’s coming new art space.



twr said...

"...I’m not really sure that ratepayers really need to be hit with a bill for $90 million..."

It's an absolute outrage that the ratepayers are made to pay a single cent for this, no matter how much you like the pretty building.

I'd like to see a councillor stand in front of someone with a multi-hundred dollar rate bill in their hand and tell them that their "tree forms" are more important than feeding the poor bastard's kids.

Russell said...

TWR: I concur, fuck how pretty it is, there are folk struggling to pay their rates let alone the other bills - this is a monument to obscenity. Went to CHCH's gallery last Friday, another obscenity. More shit stuck on walls than you'd see in an asylum. These places disgust me!

Anonymous said...

Let's hope what inside matches its housing.

Christchurch's gallery looks like a cheap Gehry knock-off with swathes of curved glass dumped on the site at random. Inside there's a huge panel smeared with human faeces. The outside doesn't appear so bad in comparison.

Peter Cresswell said...

TWR: I should point out that there has at least been an effort made to get donations -- last I heard this had raised around $40 million of the cost.

And qua architecture, criticising "public buildings" is difficult. You want to do justice to the architects, but you just can't get around the price for the thing that's all (or mostly) extracted by force from tax and/or ratepayers.

It makes you wonder what a libertarian parliament buildings might look like, don't you think?

And I can't resist pointing out that Frank Lloyd Wright never got to erect a "public building" until after he'd died . . .

Peter Cresswell said...

"Christchurch's gallery looks like a cheap Gehry knock-off . . ."

Yeah, it does. I couldn't resist including it in those few links I did to contemporary "starchitect" galleries, which Chch was just aping.

twr said...

"It makes you wonder what a libertarian parliament buildings might look like..."

Small. Real small. Outhouse small.

In fact, a corner of the defence force building would be stacks.

StephenR said...

Let's hope what inside matches its housing.

Julian Robertson's collection will be featuring there I think - it's not too shabby.

LGM said...

Libertarian parliament.

1/. Skype

2/. A pub.


Anonymous said...

PC is correct, Friends of the Gallery have done some significant fundraising. Around 1/3rd is also a contribution from the Govt also. Rates only paid for a (substantial) minority of works

The real scandal is that lefty loon Coralie Van Camp and other protestors caused $5million plus of cost overruns through their objections under the RMA, and environment court actions.

The cost overruns due to the complaints of a handful of people (literally five people) led by Van Camp are a testament to the worst parts of the RMA and the financial damage it does.

Clunking Fist said...

Anon, about 1/3 of the 1/3 paid by gummint will be the taxes of Aucklanders, so the same folk as was already paying through their rates.*

*Leaving aside the detail that not all Aucklanders paying rates, pay to Auck CC.

Unknown said...

I'm happy to put my name to this although "anonymous" got posted calling me a lefty loon. Despite the improvements we obtained in the Environment Court, the extension to the Art Gallery will inevitably be another white elephant creation foisted on ratepayers by private vested interests in conjunction with Auckland City Council monument builders. Understand the private donors are still way short of the promised amount for their private party room in Albert Park.

Coralie van Camp