Len Lye Centre
By Kirsten Kiser
The new Len Lye Centre works as a combined art museum and art gallery in connection with the existing Govett-Brewster Gallery. The two buildings share a single entrance, exhibition spaces, a café, and a cinema.
The building’s design, with its sculptural steel exterior and subtle kinetic interior light shifts, embodies and personifies Len Lye and his body of work.
|Great architecture goes 50/50 with great art”|
To celebrate the Taranaki region’s innovative steel industry, and the kinetic nature of Lye’s work, the building is wrapped in a curved facade of highly reflective stainless steel. The architects refer to this as “Taranaki’s local stone.”
The exterior’s curved reflective form “reacts to its environment” throughout the day and the seasons. A plaza around the building, to be installed early next year, will showcase these light reflections.
Gaps between the folds in the facade allow a controlled amount of light through, creating an internal space that the architect describes as being like a colonnade.
Behind the facade, the museum comprises a series of volumes connected by bridges. Galleries of various sizes and viewing rooms are distributed over four levels.
|Creating a new home for the Len Lye Collection was an honor. Len Lye is an inspirational figure who bridged a multitude of creative disciplines. This building is about amplifying his work by physically representing the partnership that he identified between art and architecture.”|
|/Andrew Patterson, Pattersons Associates Founder|
Len Lye (1901‐1980) is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand. Lye’s interests lay in the possibilities of light and movement. He possessed a creative energy that he brought to his sculptures, filmmaking, painting and writing. Legendary among experimental filmmakers worldwide, his pioneering “direct films,” made by painting and scratching on celluloid, were part of Lye’s prescient vision for a “new art movement” in the 1920s.