Museum Unveils Concept Designs For Proposed Redevelopment

Artist’s
impression of the Canterbury Museum Rolleston Facade viewed
from the North.

Canterbury Museum
has today released concept designs for its $195 million
proposed redevelopment, which celebrate and reveal more of
the Museum’s heritage buildings, provide twenty-first
century visitor facilities and meet the exhibition and
storage needs of a modern museum.

Canterbury Museum
Director Anthony Wright says that the Museum has listened
very carefully to the feedback it has received to date.
“People have told us that protecting the heritage
buildings and placing a greater emphasis on Māori, Pasifika
and multicultural exhibits were all important considerations
for any redevelopment of the Museum.

“They wanted to
see the blue whale skeleton back on display, improved
visitor facilities and new prehistoric animal exhibits.
People also want us to retain favourites such as
Discovery, the Christchurch Street and Fred
and Myrtle’s Pāua Shell House
.

Mr Wright says
that Athfield Architects have captured all of the feedback
in the proposed concept designs, while maintaining the
much-loved intimate feel of the Museum.

“The design
increases the sense of discovery, surprise and the feeling
of never being quite sure of what’s around the corner.
However the way people move through the Museum will
definitely be improved.

“We will be
bringing back the blue whale skeleton which has been in the
Museum collection since arriving in Christchurch on a horse
and cart in 1908. It has not been on public display for 26
years. The 26.5 metre skeleton will be a focal point in the
Museum, suspended in a new central full-height glass roofed
atrium,” says Mr Wright. “We are also looking forward to
developing to a new, expanded Antarctic
exhibition.”

Canterbury Museum Chair
David Ayers says, “The brief we provided Athfield
Architects was quite challenging. We were very clear that
any redevelopment must not reduce the historic importance of
the heritage buildings or their cultural value.

“We
want the proposed redevelopment to enhance and celebrate our
history by unveiling heritage fabric that has been hidden
for many years. The concepts have more than met our
expectations and we’re looking forward to hearing what the
Canterbury community thinks.”

Artist’s
impressions of the Canterbury Museum interior Araiteuru
space.

Welcoming Space: The Museum
continues to work closely with Ngāi Tūāhuriri on the
concept designs. Puamiria Parata-Goodall, Kaiurungi (Chair)
of the Museum’s Ōhākī o Ngā Tīpuna says, “We are
looking forward to continuing our journey with the Museum,
not just for Ngāi Tūāhuriri, but for our Papatipu
Rūnanga.

“At the heart of the new Museum is a new
space called Araiteuru, housed in the central full-height
atrium. Araiteuru celebrates the importance of how we
welcome people to the Museum and this is where we will tell
the story of mana whenua and tangata whenua through a mix of
contemporary and traditional methods,” says Mrs
Parata-Goodall.

Araiteuru will be home to a new
contemporary whare – a ceremonial and educational space.
The Whare Whakairo (carved meeting house) Hau Te Ananui O
Tangaroa, a taonga that hasn’t been on display for 64
years, will also hold pride of place in Araiteuru.

Mrs
Parata-Goodall says, “The redevelopment will acknowledge
mana whenua and our long relationship with this place, well
before the Museum was built. It will weave together the
history and culture of Māori and Pākeha, the peoples who
discovered, explored and have made Waitaha (Canterbury)
their home.”

Design Proposals: The concept designs
propose that the walls on the northern sides of the original
Benjamin Mountfort-designed buildings will be revealed and
original exterior elements, including the flèche (slender
roof-top spire) on the Rolleston Avenue façade, will be
reinstated.

A new three-storey building, within the
height limits of the Rolleston Avenue roof line, would wrap
around the north side of the heritage buildings, exposing
their heritage walls to public view. The building would
include mezzanine floors, multifunctional spaces such as a
new lecture

theatre and increased space for permanent
and temporary exhibitions. Base isolation would be added
across the site to protect the heritage buildings and the
collections, and to bring the site up to 100% of Building
Code. New collection storage would be created as part of
this.

Additional Entrance: A key element of the
concept design is a second Rolleston Avenue entrance. The
current entry to the Museum is too small to be the only
entrance, and with more than 750,000 visitors a year and
rising, an additional entrance will reduce congestion and
improve the flow of visitors into the building. This entry
will also house a cafe with sidewalk seating.

Heritage
architecture expert Jim Gard’ner says the concept design
for the Rolleston Avenue facade respects and celebrates the
Gothic Revival language of Benjamin Mountfort. “The
additions to the Museum and planned central circulation
patterns are informed by Mountfort’s original unrealised
plans and ideas for the extension of the
Museum.

“The proposed additional entrance on
Rolleston Avenue will have three openings into a covered
portico. This draws on the typical tripartite form commonly
found in Gothic Revival architecture, including the 1878
porch of the existing entrance to the Museum, key entrances
within the Arts Centre, and the porch of Christ Church
Cathedral,” says Mr Gard’ner.

Roger Duff Wing:
Floor to ceiling glass will be added to part of two floors
of the Roger Duff Wing which will house a split-level family
cafe alongside Discovery, the Museum’s natural
history centre for children.

Jim Gard’ner says the
changes to the Duff Wing draw on the Late Modern
architectural form of architect John Hendry’s 1977 design,
creating a new focal point for the Museum, with dramatic
views across the Botanic Gardens to the Arts
Centre.

Christchurch Heritage Charitable Trust Chair
Dame Anna Crighton says the Museum Board was extremely
proactive in sharing its redevelopment plans with the
community and ensuring feedback was widely represented in
the redevelopment concept.

Mr Wright says, “We now
welcome public input into our concept designs. People can
see the concept designs in the Bird Hall at the
Museum or visit www.canterburymuseum.com
to view the designs. Feedback closes on 23
October.

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