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Sargood Centre


Dunedin

The Sargood Centre is the development of the former Exhibition Art Gallery at Logan Park. The NZHP Category 1 Building was the Art Gallery for the 1925-26 NZ South Seas Exhibition and is thought to be the only remaining building of its type on its original site.

The building was designed by Dunedin Architect Edmund Anscombe whose enthusiasm for the 1925 Exhibition encouraged the Council to commit to hosting it.

Between 1850 and 1930 International Exhibitions were seen as a way of showcasing achievements in industrial advances. Although many were financial disasters, the Dunedin South Seas 1925- 26 Exhibition was considered a financial success. It was open for six months and hosted 3.2 million visitors.

The Sargood family purchased the building in 1927 and gifted it to the city as the City Art Gallery in memory of their son Cedric, who was killed in WW1 at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli. The Sargood family also donated the Sargood Wing (the Sculpture Gallery) in 1951.

The building had been occupied by a number of sporting groups since the Dunedin Public Art Gallery moved out in 1996 and was in a very poor state with much of the original gallery detail destroyed or hidden. Lack of maintenance meant water ingress had damaged much of the structure and heritage fabric.

Agreement was reached between Otago Cricket, New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Dunedin City Council to remove some of the building for further expansion of the Cricket Oval in return for restoration of the octagonal gallery space for public access and a display of the South Seas Exhibition event. Resource consent triggered the Dunedin City Council to commit to conserving the remaining structures.

The Sargood Centre exterior

The Otago Polytechnic approached Dunedin City Council in 2010 seeking additional space. They looked at a number of options but because the new stadium was not suitable for their purposes the two parties entered discussions about the old art gallery. Architect Ian Butcher, who had been working on another heritage project for Dunedin City Property department, was engaged to look at the needs of Otago Polytechnic and Dunedin City Council to see if the Old Art Gallery could be made suitable.

The Sargood Centre historic art gallery structure

The Sargood Centre lecture room

The project involved adapting the closed, gloomy compound of former gallery buildings to a new commercial use as a modern, Sport Education, teaching facility.

Although the building was ‘broken’ and had sunken dramatically at one end, it was basically sound. The architect and engineer worked closely to develop innovative solutions to its earthquake prone condition. The project was complex and multifaceted. The result has the endorsement of client, tenant and heritage advocates and in keeping with their long standing philanthropy towards Dunedin, the Sargood bequest has generously contributed to this project to help give the building new life.

The Sargood Centre gym

The interior was inspired by a ‘South Seas’ sunrise; sunset colours and clear blues and greens were the inspiration for the colours used in the administration offices - Resene Ayers Rock, Resene Limerick, Resene Free Spirit and Resene True Blue. These colours are in the former small galleries which at one time would have displayed old masters and provide stimulating colours in teaching spaces. Colourful and high quality contemporary HUM furniture from Formway needed strong colour companions.

The Sargood Centre clear blues and greens were the inspiration for the colours used

Resene Half Spanish White walls and ceiling coupled with restored Rimu floor and charcoal upholstery retains the dignified feel of a heritage gallery. Salvaged timber from a Pohutukawa tree removed from the west side of the building was used to decorate doors to a small catering kitchen off the main gallery. Large teaching space walls and ceilings are finished in Resene Half Spanish White and Resene Cocktail. The gymnasium also features Resene X Factor. These colours are relieved by hoop pine ceiling, pine mezzanine floor and stairs, charcoal carpet and charcoal rubber gym floor. The aluminium joinery is Titania with timber joinery finished in Resene Half Spanish White.

Resene Ayers Rock
Resene Ayers Rock
Resene Limerick
Resene Limerick
Resene Free Spirit
Resene Free Spirit
Resene True Blue
Resene True Blue
Resene Half Spanish White
Resene Half Spanish White
Resene Cocktail
Resene Cocktail
Resene X Factor
Resene X Factor
Resene Titania
Resene Titania
Resene White
Resene White
Resene Locust
Resene Locust
Resene Permanent Green
Resene Permanent Green
 

Round tube steel strengthening, steel stair strings and steel tube frames to balustrades are bright white, which relate to the white detail on a sailing ship. On the exterior disparate elements are unified through the use of subtle neutrals – Resene Titania and White, with the gallery roof in Slate Grey. Resene Lumbersider was used extensively because it is easy to use, is a durable and well tested product. A unique Op Art end wall treatment in Resene Locust and Resene Permanent Green and strips of aluminium differentiates the cut off section from the remaining parts of the heritage structure.

The Sargood Centre steel tube frames to balustrades are bright white

One of the challenging aspects of the project was deciding how to deal with the damage to surfaces where additions to the building had connected. Brickwork had been painted and chipped. Bituminous paint, aluminium paint and old oil based paints had to be removed without damaging the surface of the brickwork. A special European gentle paint softening and steam cleaning process was eventually successful. The cleaned and repointed brick walls now give little clue as to their previous condition.

 

The Sargood Centre

Architectural specifier: Ian Butcher
Building contractor: Steve Mowat Building & Construction Ltd
Client: Dunedin City Council
Client tenant: Otago Polytechnic School of Sport and Adventure.
Painting contractor: Murray Turner Decorators Ltd
Photographer: Michael McQueen

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