The Len Lye Centre in construction. Photo Glenn Jeffrey

The Len Lye Centre in construction. Photo Glenn Jeffrey

Len Lye Centre construction wins gold

29 May 2017

Clelands Construction Limited has won gold at the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards 2017 for the Len Lye Centre project.

The nationwide, annual awards programme promotes and celebrates quality building processes and practices within the commercial construction sector. The 2017 awards were announced this month.

Cleland’s Construction was the lead contractor of more than 30 contractors that worked on the project that saw the new Len Lye Centre integrated with the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, established in 1970 in a cinema building, on New Plymouth’s Queen St.

Owned by the New Plymouth District Council, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was closed from April 2013 for earthquake strengthening, compliance, upgrades and construction of the adjoining Len Lye Centre, before re-opening in July 2015.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery Director Simon Rees: “It was a delight to work long hours on site with the team from Clelands – who over the course of the build were transformed from talented sceptics to ingenious fans. Clelands played an integral part in constructing one of this country’s most innovative buildings – that’s already becoming an internationally regarded icon and a community hub.”

Clelands Construction Manager/Director Martin Stephens: “The unique design of this project was technically and practically challenging. We saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate our ethos of ‘best idea wins’ through the engagement of our collective skills and experience. This included the wider team of subcontractors for the curved precast panels and stainless steel façade. The result was a true collaborative effort lead by Clelands and is a triumph of local innovation, creativity and ingenuity”.

In the Heritage and Restoration category, Clelands Construction also won silver for the White Hart redevelopment, opposite the Len Lye Centre on New Plymouth’s Queen St. With a heritage Category 1 classification the Victorian era hotel had deteriorated almost beyond repair but the iconic façade was restored and the remainder transformed or rebuilt and is now full tenanted. The two buildings are cornerstones of a thriving commercial precinct that has developed around them.

The recently reopened Suter Art Gallery in Nelson was also awarded.

Other accolades for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre

Govett-Brewster's new addition of the Len Lye Centre, designed by architects Patterson Associates in Auckland, was a finalist in the prestigious 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards' Culture category with 17 other buildings from Singapore, Australia, Japan, Poland, China, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, USA and Italy.

In 2016 the New Plymouth District Council won a national award for Best Creative Place at the Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards, recognising the contribution arts and culture initiatives can make towards creating a more prosperous city or region.

The world’s largest independent guide book publisher Lonely Planet announced Taranaki as the 2nd best region in the world to visit in its Best in Travel 2017 publication, highlighting the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre as 'a deliciously offbeat new gallery’.

Also in 2016, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre's brand identity won gold at the Best Awards.





See a video on the Len Lye Centre construction here:

For high-res images or further enquiries please contact:
Kelly Loney
Communications Advisor
M: +27 839 2660


About Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre
The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery is New Zealand’s contemporary art museum in the coastal city of New Plymouth, Taranaki on the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Since opening in 1970, the Gallery has dedicated itself to innovative programming, focused collection development and audience engagement. It has earned a strong reputation nationally and internationally for its global vision and special commitment to contemporary art of the Pacific Rim. The Govett-Brewster is also home to the collection and archive of the seminal modernist filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye (1901–1980).

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was founded with a gift to the city of New Plymouth, from one of its greatest ‘Friends’ Monica Brewster (née Govett). A globetrotter before the age of air travel, Monica Brewster envisaged an art museum for her hometown that would be an international beacon for the art and ideas of the current day – the sort she had become familiar with on her global travels.

The Govett-Brewster continues in the legacy of Monica Brewster by taking on and presenting the most provocative, audacious and confident works of art in the global arts landscape.

The greatly expanded museum re-launched on 25 July 2015 with the addition of the Len Lye Centre. With its curved exterior walls of mirror-like stainless steel, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre is the country’s first example of destination architecture linked to contemporary art.

This latest addition to the Govett-Brewster – the Len Lye Centre – is New Zealand’s first institution dedicated to a single artist, the pioneering filmmaker and kinetic sculptor, Len Lye.

In 1964 Len Lye said “Great architecture goes fifty-fifty with great art”.

The Len Lye Centre building, adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, is an example of innovative thinking in both engineering and architecture. The architects are Patterson Associates, one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised architectural firms.

The new Len Lye Centre features changing exhibitions 3x/year Lye’s work in kinetic sculpture, film, painting, drawing, photography, batik and writing, as well as related work by contemporary and historical artists.

It also houses a state-of-the-art 62-seat cinema – a welcoming environment for audiences to experience Len Lye’s films, local and international cinema, cult, arthouse and experimental films, and regular festival programming.

The Govett-Brewster Art Gallery building in New Plymouth closed in April 2013 for earthquake strengthening, compliance, upgrades and construction of the Len Lye Centre.


About Len Lye
A visionary New Zealander, an inspirational artist, a pioneer of film; Len Lye is one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from New Zealand.

Len Lye was an experimental filmmaker, poet, painter, kinetic sculptor and creative visionary ahead of his time. Most of his works were so revolutionary that technology literally had to catch up to him – meaning much of Lye’s work was not realised in his own lifetime.

 Lye’s iconic 45-metre kinetic sculpture Wind Wand sways gently on New Plymouth's Coastal Walkway. The Wind Wand that glows red at night, is the first large outdoor sculpture to be built posthumously from his plans and drawings.

In 1977 Lye returned to his homeland to oversee the first New Zealand exhibition of his work at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. He called it the “swingiest art gallery of the antipodes”.

Shortly before his death in 1980, Lye and his supporters established the Len Lye Foundation, to which he gifted his entire collection. His collection was gifted on the condition that a suitable and permanent home be created in which his works could be fully realised.