We are proud to present the Concept Design for a bold new Lyttelton Museum, returning Lyttelton’s stories to the heart of Lyttelton. Our vision and the purpose of the new museum is to provide a place to actively share, celebrate and preserve the taonga and stories of Lyttelton township and Te Whakaraupō / the Harbour for the benefit of the whole community and its visitors.
The site for the new museum is at 33/35 London Street, next to the Lyttelton Library. It was gifted to us by the Christchurch City Council for the purpose of a new museum.
Warren and Mahoney architects have created a unique and powerful response to our design brief, which included:
A place for stories
The museum will be a place where stories are brought to life. A place to share, celebrate, tell, explore, think, and learn. It will include a mixture of permanent exhibits and spaces that are flexible in arrangement so the building can adapt to future exhibitions and community use. Although Lyttelton and Te Whakaraupō holds many stories, there are six major themes which will weave through the museum: Mana Whenua, Antarctica, Colonial Canterbury, Maritime, Lyttelton Local and Lyttelton by Nature.
Unique design opportunity
The stories will be drawn from the area within which the museum is located and from Antarctica, which has strong links with Lyttelton. The strong connection to the surrounding context provided a unique design opportunity for the building form and for views from windows to landscape features and historic sites. Sightlines towards such features and sites have driven the layout of the building. Darker exhibition spaces radiate around a central core encompassing stairs and a lift, separated by glimpses of sunlight and views in between.
A viewing room on the top level will afford stunning panoramic views. It will be a place to watch southerlies sweeping up the harbour, to point out landmarks and port activity to your visiting friends, and a place to sit and reflect on your museum experience.
The museum is a starting place to understand and explore the rich cultural history of the place and its people. The bold architecture is an opportunity to create an iconic image, which will attract both locals and visitors alike. We want the design to attract local families for return visits, community groups to explore their historical context, national and international visitors to Lyttelton as well as school groups and researchers.
On a practical level, the building will be able to look after the museum’s collection to professional standards - that means secure and environmentally stable storage. And the intent is for this project to be as sustainable as practically possible within the budget. Priorities include being low cost to operate, energy efficient, long-lasting, low maintenance and healthy materials and use passive environmental controls where possible.
Conversations with Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke and local artist Nathan Pohio have informed the design. We want the museum to support appropriate tikanga to that it can be a place entrusted to hold and share, stories and taonga of mana whenua for the benefit of the whole community.
A total fundraising target of $9.9M has been set for the new Museum, which includes the cost of the build construction, museum fit-out, display design and installation, professional fees, and one year of operating costs. It is anticipated that it will take approximately four years to raise this sum, but construction could commence sooner, once 50% of the cost of the build has been raised.