Mahara welcomes appointment of architect for Gallery redevelopment


Mahara Gallery welcomes the appointment of Athfield Architects to design the redevelopment of the Gallery.

Mahara Chairman Professor Les Holborow says the appointment is a welcome step forward in the project which seeks to improve public gallery space and enable the Gallery to house and display the nationally-significant Field Collection, on offer to the Gallery on condition it is upgraded to museum-standard.

“We were pleased to work with the Council and the Field Collection Trust to select a preferred architectural firm to recommend to the Council,” he said.

“The number and quality of the proposals received was highly encouraging. They were an indication that the various firms had grasped the significance of what is being proposed.

“I am pleased that there has already been positive reaction to the news and the concept that Athfield Architects provided.

“I’m also aware there has been some public comment about the choice of a firm outside Kāpiti,” said Professor Holborow. “In making the choice, we were conscious of the need to appoint a firm with experience of designing art galleries as well as having good size and scale.

“We are satisfied that we have a design which, when realized, can become the cornerstone building for the Council’s plans for Waikanae to become a cultural hub and complement the Council’s plans for the town centre upgrade.

“The appointment provides us with a platform to relaunch the project and enables us to reignite the appeal for the remaining funding needed for the project to proceed.”

Professor Holborow said the Board looked forward to communicating the architect’s concept to the many people in the Kāpiti district who support the redevelopment of the Gallery.

Kāpiti Coast District Council comment:

“We’re pleased to welcome Athfield Architects on board and we’re excited to take the next steps on this project. Athfield Architects took part in a detailed tender process and showed they have the right experience to move this project forward alongside the Council and our community,” says Council Group Manager Regulatory Services Natasha Tod.

“The Gallery is an important community asset and we consulted on the redevelopment as part of the Long term plan 2018-38. Council remains committed to the $5.206 million budget project, with a third of the total costs coming from Council. The next steps are to progress the designs to enable the Mahara Gallery Trust to complete their fundraising for the remainder of the project’s budget.”

Waikanae Ward Councillor Michael Scott described the Athfield concept as inspirational and innovative, taking the best of the current building and creatively developing a concept for the District’s Gallery on the current site.

“The entire arts community will be very pleased to see the project progress. It’s a very exciting project and I’d like to acknowledge everyone that has been involved to move the project to this point – the Mahara Gallery Trust, the Field Collection Trustees, the steering group and staff.”

“We know people are anxious to see this project move along. As part of the design development we’ll be working with the Waikanae Community Board, stakeholders and the wider community to make sure the redevelopment reflects community needs, and helps increase the vibrancy of the Waikanae town centre.”

The attached photos are Athfield Architects’ impressions of the exterior of the Gallery redevelopment seen from the Countdown carpark and what the interior could look like.