Len Lye Centre / Patterson Associates

Len Lye Centre / Patterson Associates

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Image 2 of 31Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - ColumnLen Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Image 4 of 31Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - ChairLen Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - More Images+ 26

  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2015
  • Photographs
    Photographs: Patrick Reynolds
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers:  Figueras, Rondo
Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Facade, Column
©  Patrick Reynolds

Text description provided by the architects. The Len Lye Centre is New Zealand’s only single artist museum and its design is deeply influenced by the life, ideas, writings and work of Len Lye (5 July, 1901 – 15 May, 1980).

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Column
©  Patrick Reynolds

It was Lye himself who said in 1964 that “great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art,” a maxim that has informed the approach and form of the Patterson Associates-designed Antipodean Temple that houses his work.

Third Floor Plan

Lye was fascinated with temples and in conceiving the overall design it seemed aesthetically and historically appropriate to draw inspiration from the “megarons,” or great halls, of the classical world, as well as Polynesian forms and ideas. These also influenced Lye and he is, after all, the client.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Image 4 of 31
©  Patrick Reynolds

To do this in a new way, we developed our thinking in a holistic or adaptive way, using what we call “systems methodology.” This means that rather than using proportion or aesthetics, we use patterns in the ecology of the project’s environments to drive the design elements.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Image 12 of 31
©  Patrick Reynolds

For example, the shimmering, iridescent colonnade façade, manufactured locally using stainless steel - Taranaki’s ‘local stone’ - links both Lye’s innovations in kinetics and light as well as the region’s industrial innovation. By doing this we celebrate the fortunate gift of his works to Taranaki.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Column
©  Patrick Reynolds

The colonnade creates a theatre curtain, but with three asymmetric ramped sides, leading to a type of vestibule, known as “pronaos” in Ancient Greece. This is formed by the gallery holding the large Lye works. Viewed from above, the colonnade’s top edges create a koru form, displaying the Museum’s Polynesian influences as the meeting house, or wharenui, for Len Lye.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Image 10 of 31
©  Patrick Reynolds

The procession of the colonnade morphs into a portico, announcing the main gallery as a type of megaron but also functioning as a wharenui; the deities and ancestors referenced and represented by Lye’s inspirational work.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Column, Arch
©  Patrick Reynolds

Traditionally, the most sacred and private part of a temple, the “adyton,” is located at the point furthest from the entrance. Here is housed the Len Lye archive, while the ‘treasury,’ known as the “opisthodomos,” looks back to the people entering below.

Second Floor Plan

The project respectfully links into the smaller existing Govett Brewster Art Gallery, which itself has been retrofitted from the city’s decommissioned heritage cinema. The combined facility is undivided, with a circular loop allowing visitors to appreciate the changing museum and gallery displays within one flexible and shared structure.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Chair
©  Patrick Reynolds

On the circular loop, light is drawn inside through the apertures in the colonnade, and these create moving light patterns on the walkway, perhaps a form of passive kinetic architecture.

Len Lye Centre  / Patterson Associates - Facade, Cityscape
©  Patrick Reynolds

We hope the design challenges the dominance of pure modernism in contemporary thought. Classicism has been unfashionable for many decades and the Len Lye Museum seeks to extend modernist language with meaning. Creating space that is more lucid, triumphant and celebratory than Bauhaus traditions, but also more cogent and flowing than axis-generated architecture.

Project gallery

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Project location

Address:New Plymouth, New Zealand

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Len Lye Centre / Patterson Associates" 04 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/771278/len-lye-centre-patterson-associates> ISSN 0719-8884

©  Patrick Reynolds

Len Lye 中心 / Patterson Associates

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