Bringing a gallery into the green
Project: Suter Art Gallery Redevelopment
Date: 2014 - 2017
Client: Nelson City Council
An arts institution
The Nelson Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu is itself an arts taonga. Established in 1899 as a memorial to the second Bishop of Nelson, Andrew Burn Suter (1830-1895) the gallery has been the centre of Nelson’s fine art community for over 120 years.
Housing a significant permanent collection, the Suter presents an ever-changing series of exhibitions that celebrate the best of local, national and international artists, while fostering a vibrant and active arts engagement programme.
A garden fit for a Queen
The Suter Art Gallery sits on the edge of Nelson’s Queens Gardens. Formally opened in 1892 to mark the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the gardens showcase a diverse array of plants and garden styles.
Designed around the residual part of the Maitai River called the Eel Pond (a kai gathering place for the Maori), the Gardens are a much loved greenspace in the heart of a busy small city.
Bringing garden and gallery together
In 2016 work was completed on a major redevelopment of The Suter. Along with significant expansion of the gallery, curation and administration spaces the project also strengthened and protected the original heritage building.
Nelmac landscape design team was commissioned by Nelson City Council to integrate a newly modernised building into this long established garden environment. Particular attention needed to be paid to stringent resource consent conditions in an historic precinct and the protection of the existing mature canopy of native trees.
A design to reflect a city
At ground level the design centred around a winding boardwalk joining the gallery with the network of paths through the Gardens. It provides a series of native planted vignette’s visible from each window of the gallery, sculpture points dotted amongst the veil of heritage trees and a contrasting mix of plantings endemic to the Nelson environs. This design is the culmination of a thoughtfully engineered site reflecting both history and the arts culture of this growing little city.
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