Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is undertaking essential maintenance work to the iconic heritage building on the corner of Kitchener and Wellesley streets, the original 1887 home of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
The project is vital to ensure that one of New Zealand’s most iconic and beloved buildings is maintained for future generations. As such, it has been named Heritage Restoration Project: Kia Whakahou, Kia Whakaora (to restore, to heal). As a Category 1 historic place of outstanding cultural significance, all the planned works will be sympathetic to the heritage status of the building.
The phased project programme will begin with replacing the original slate roof and undertaking some seismic strengthening (Stage One). A subsequent stage (Stage Two), planned to be delivered in parallel, includes render repairs, re-painting the external walls and renovating external window joinery where necessary.
Timing and Gallery access
Work begins on erecting the hoardings around the original corner building next week, followed by scaffolding and protective shrink wrapping. Once this is in place, work will start on the roof. The entire project is anticipated to take two years to complete.
As the restoration work focuses on the heritage building, the modern 2011 extension will remain open as usual throughout the project; with most exhibitions and events running as usual. Some heritage parts of the building will be temporarily closed, while other areas may be affected from time to time in order that work may be carried out in a safe manner.
Visitors will still be able to access the footpath around the building, and access will be via the main entrance to the Gallery.
A complex undertaking
The considerable age of the slate tiles on the roof and natural deterioration over time has meant the loose and slipping tiles no longer protect the roof structure underneath, and they have become a health and safety hazard. Temporary mitigation has included a catch-fence along the roofline.
The complex work includes:
- Replacing the slate roof, the underroof, lead and copper flashings and gutters and downpipes. Skylights will also be removed to reinstate the original dormer roofing.
- Civil work along the Wellesley and Kitchener Street pavement will enable better drainage connections from the roof gutter and downpipes.
- Minor seismic improvements to the parapets and clock tower.
The project team has procured slates from the original quarry in the United Kingdom. Only a handful of skilled installers in New Zealand are able to do this careful work, as each tile is installed by hand.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Chief Executive Auckland Nick Hill says the Heritage Restoration Project: Kia Whakahou, Kia Whakaora is essential to protect one of Auckland’s best-loved buildings and the treasures within.
“As kaitiaki for Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, every component of the works we will undertake is vital to the longevity and safety of this iconic heritage building and to preserving Auckland’s collection of irreplaceable artworks."
We know how important the Gallery is to Aucklanders, and to art-lovers everywhere, and that it is essential we continue to protect it for everyone’s enjoyment, now and into the future.
Auckland Art Gallery Director Kirsten Lacy says the restoration project is an exciting opportunity to share the building’s journey and what it means to visitors.
“The Gallery is one of the oldest and most-cherished, free public buildings in Auckland. Except for Christmas Day, it is continuously open, and is set to welcome 420,000 people to our city this year.
“Residents and visitors to Tāmaki Makaurau love the mix of heritage and contemporary architecture, and the way in which the building reflects the unique character of our city."
We can all feel proud of caring for this exceptional heritage building, which belongs to the people of Auckland.
Visit the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Heritage Restoration Project: Kia Whakahou Kia Whakaora page for regular updates from the project team and heritage architects.