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Artspace launches new architectural changes

Monday, 15 February 2016 2:54:49 p.m.

Artspace Renovations project 2016

Photographs by Sam Hartnett

 

In February 2016 Artspace launches new architectural changes to the gallery and surrounding spaces, extending the public’s experience of contemporary art into new avenues of research, engagement and audience development.

The project was sparked during the first exhibition Misal Adnan Yildiz’s programme On the moment of change, there is always a new threshold of imagination, (December 2014 – February 2015) which explored potential changes to the institutional framework.

The design process departed from a conversation with New Zealand artist Billy Apple® and the introduction of his work Billy Apple® Red wall for Artspace in March 2015. The red wall redefined the gallery footprint by giving the small gallery in the north side of the building to Artspace’s neighbors enabling Artspace to reclaim the west side of the building. Artspace then engaged Kimberly Read, from Bureaux of Auckland to be the architectural lead on the project. Observing the circulation of visitors, and everyday life at Artspace, the staff and board members worked together with Read during think-tank sessions to plan for the inclusion of two new public research and development areas: Conversations and Learning, Unlearning, Relearning.

Artspace moved to its current home in the Newton Post office building in 1997. The initial refit, designed by Nicholas Stevens, transformed what were once the offices and mail-sorting rooms of the post office into Artspace's distinctive white cube gallery.

The new work has largely focused on the peripheral spaces to the gallery that had over the years, accumulated several informal additions and add-ons. Read stripped back walls on the west side of the building, to create office space and new flexible exhibition and research areas.

Visitors to Artspace will be presented with two front doors; the gallery on the left, leading visitors to edited decisions, filtered and rendered by artists; and on the right combined education and library facilities Learning, Unlearning, Relearning, welcoming them into the on-going research and operations side of Artspace.

Looking towards Maungawhau, the new meeting room Conversations is dedicated to the thin line between public and private. It’s a hub, meeting place and a break for those who are involved with the exhibition programme, as well as visitors who seek further discussions. It is situated outside the physical space of the gallery, soon to be equipped with improved kitchen facilities to accommodate and support the new public forums #ReadwithArtspace, #ThinkwithArtspace and soon #CookwithArtspace. With an emphasis on how artistic research can be utilized into everyday reality, the new meeting space will be populated by a parallel programme of conversations with different stake holders in the surrounding community of Karangahape road in Auckland.

The renovation work was carried out by Island 2000 Construction during Artspace’s summer close down period.

The architectural changes have been funded through donations by individuals, families and groups from our community. Artspace would like to acknowledge and thank those who have enabled these vital and exciting changes to the building including Hynds Charitable Trust, The Chartwell Trust, Jan Warburton Charitable Trust, John and Jo Gow, Fernyhough Visual Arts Trust, Jenny and Andrew Smith, Dayle Mace, Venus Collection II, Sue Fisher, Trevor & Jan Farmer, Bijou, Murray & Denise Lazelle, Greg Fahey, Melanie Roger Gallery, Richard Maloy, Misal Adnan Yildiz, Elizabeth Caldwell, Kate Lane, Matthew Ellwood, Fiona Jack, Anderson Family and others who wish to remain anonymous.

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