Client: Victoria University of Wellington
Project Type: Educational
Project Timeframe: 1999
Architects: Athfield Architects
This tall sliver of a building on the Kelburn campus is sandwiched between three other university structures, creating a wind trap which posed special construction challenges.
The gallery sits on rubber bearings designed to compress during an earthquake. Getting its steel frames plumb in such a tight wedge was extraordinarily difficult, particularly as putting the black zinc cladding in place threatened to knock the frames out of alignment.
This was solved by pre-loading them then connecting insulated pre-cast panels to keep it watertight. This was all done while incorporating a pre-existing stairway.
A major art exhibition was staged to celebrate the opening of the gallery, which remains a well-used campus showpiece.