The New Dowse Art Museum / Athfield Architects

The New Dowse Art Museum / Athfield Architects
© Simon Devitt
© Simon Devitt
Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Architects: Athfield Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 3000.0
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2006
  • Photographs photographs: Matt Paterson

© Matt Paterson © Simon Devitt © Simon Devitt © Simon Devitt + 10

  • Structural: Clendon Burns and Park
  • Services Engineers: SKM
  • Managemen: Mills
  • Contractor: Mainzeal Ltd
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Text description provided by the architects. The New Dowse Art Museum refurbishment was based around several key architectural objectives.

Firstly the new work concentrates built form, energy and money on the west face.  This maximises the physical presence of the New Dowse; amalgamates new and existing buildings; and presents an active, urban-scale shop frontage to the city.  This bold façade, and the aluminium work ‘Rainscreen’ acts as a catalyst for Hutt City’s urban renewal.

© Simon Devitt
© Simon Devitt

Secondly, the New Dowse allows for a multitude of inter-relationships between the galleries, courtyard, theatre, retail and café spaces whilst maintaining a clear circulation loop.  These spatial options provide the New Dowse with vastly improved community and commercial use options.

Thirdly, the new building provides a ceremonial axis from the ‘atia’ space in front to the internal courtyard & Pataka.  This courtyard functions as an external exhibition space; an orientating device; and a light-well for the multiple spaces on all sides at both levels.

© Simon Devitt
© Simon Devitt

The New Dowse has two distinctive environmental elements – an underfloor rockstore and the highly visible aluminium ‘Rainscreen’.  The rockstore economically conditions air to the upstairs galleries whilst ‘Rainscreen’ functions as a sun shade to the west façade and a wind shield for the café users. The screen is physical evidence of the role the New Dowse plays in facilitating creative collaborations between art, design and manufacturing.

In 2012 the carpark was redesigned to form the Dowse Square, a new town square for Lower Hutt and an outdoor gallery for art, play & community events.

Ground Floor Plan
Ground Floor Plan

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Project location

Address: Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "The New Dowse Art Museum / Athfield Architects" 19 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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