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Great architecture goes 50/50 with great art,” said filmmaker and kinetic sculptor Len Lye in 1964. The new Len Lye Centre
in New Plymoth, Taranaki, New Zealand, stands as a monument to
the artist’s philosophy.
Designed by Patterson Architects Associates (PAA), the building
is wrapped in a curved, reflective facade in order to celebrate the
region’s innovative steel industry. Inside, the space is reverential and
considered a “temple” for art, creating a sensory experience with light.
“Lye was fascinated with temples and our design uses principles
from the classical world, as well as Polynesian forms and ideas,”
said Andrew Patterson, design director of PAA. “These influenced
Lye and after all, he was the client.”
PAA developed the design in a holistic or adaptive way, using a
“systems methodology.” Rather than following classical proportion
and aesthetics, the team used patterns in the ecology of the
project’s environments to drive design elements.
“Patterson’s vision best matched the inventiveness, whimsy,
and materials of Len Lye’s work, and particularly embraced the
importance of light to Len,” said Simon Rees, director of the
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. “The building provides a fitting setting
for Len Lye’s work because of its materials, design, apportionment
of spaces, and new cinema. It will do Len proud.”
The Len Lye Centre by