Auckland Art Gallery Hero

Preserving Auckland Art Gallery for future generations

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, which first opened in 1888, is New Zealand’s oldest established and largest public art gallery. It’s home to more than 15,000 works of national and international art dating from the 12th Century to the present day.

Due to constraints in the scale and flexibility of its space, it could only show 3-4% of its collection at any one time and was often unable to accept large exhibitions. If the Gallery was to do more to meet changing community expectations and to build its international standing for the benefit of Auckland, it needed to be upgraded and extended.



  • To create a world-class public art gallery that values its architectural heritage and its unique site.
  • To create an iconic contemporary building appropriate to house the country’s finest art collections.
  • To create an enjoyable visitor experience that enriches theunderstanding and meaning of art.
  • To create a strong connection between the Gallery, neighbouring Albert Park and the wider cultural precinct.



We worked as part of the project team (from September 2008-early 2011) to achieve a $121 million aesthetic and structural transformation, comprising:

  • A range of new room layouts and increased ceiling height elevations.
  • Special facilities for young people and families.
  • Glazed surfaces to introduce controlled natural light into the gallery.
  • Restoration of the 1916 East Gallery.
  • Creating three distinct architectural interiors.
  • A new education classroom, expanded auditorium, larger research library.
  • Inclusion of a ceremonial entrance.
  • Expanded gallery shop and café.

Our work included significant seismic strengthening to bring existing heritage buildings up to current design codes and increasing display space by at least 50%. 


  • We navigated multiple preliminary challenges associated with Environment Court Rulings, resource consents, site constraints and working within, around and below heritage buildings.
  • We procured rare and specialist materials from around the globe, including 2,500m2 of New Zealand kauri for the ceiling of the gallery, German Jura stone for the exterior, American white oak for the floor and specialised glass from Europe, America and Asia.


Construction was completed in early 2011 and the building handed back to Auckland Council well in advance of the opening in September 2011. As a result of the upgrade, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki now lies at the heart of the New Zealand art experience for both the local community and visitors alike, and one of Auckland’s most treasured and iconic buildings has been protected for future generations.

“It is an absolute pleasure to house New Zealand's most significant collection of art in such a sensitively considered and beautifully-crafted building that has achieved an exceptional level of international acclaim.”


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Director