Since moving to its current location in 1929 Auckland War Memorial Museum had seen one addition in the late 1950s, when an administration annexe with a large semi-circular courtyard was added to the southern rear. At Christmas 1999, the first stage of the Museum’s redevelopment was completed; a five-year restoration of its landmark heritage building, introduction of new building services and replacement of 9000m² of natural history, cultural history and war memorial exhibits.
However, this added no new spaces or amenities. A second and final stage was necessary to address fundamental visitor needs, educational amenities, and the safe care and access to the Museum’s leading national collections: the Grand Atrium project was born.
Auckland Museum Trust’s aim:
What we did:
In 2003 Hawkins was awarded the contract to build "The Dome" - Auckland War Memorial Museum's Stage 2 Grand Atrium development.
The architecturally striking project, which filled the rear southern courtyard of the 1960s addition, raised the quality of the visitor amenities and storage collection space to international standards.
The project created over 9,000m² of space (a 60% increase) over seven levels - two basement levels, ground floor, and four above-ground levels contained in a ‘bowl' structure and topped by a copper and glass dome.
The extension houses a 950m² international quality special exhibitions hall; a new learning centre for children and a 200-seat auditorium for cultural and musical performances, films and lectures; a copper dome topped café; an events centre and garden on the museum's rooftop offering extensive views of Auckland. The project also included the construction of a two-level underground car park building.
The new works fit within the existing museum space and, as it is a heritage building, we made no structural changes to the exterior façade.
We adopted a collaborative approach, working alongside the Museum Trust and their designers to provide construction and budget advice. We were forced to think laterally and develop unconventional and innovative solutions to meet the architectural structural and operational requirements of a museum.
The project was completed and formally opened in December 2006, bringing to an end more than a decade of continuous development, refurbishment and reconstruction.
Auckland Museum is beloved like no other iconic building. This development not only increases the Museum’s ability to showcase, interpret and celebrate our history, but has added another.