Artist Len Lye Centre | Patterson Associates

| 15 : 30 – 16 March 2018 |



With a striking facade wrapped in steel, Len Lye Centre a dedicated gallery for the Artist Len Lye collection connected to the Govett-Brewster is designed by Patterson Associates Architects.

New Zealand-born artist Len Lye is known primarily for his experimental films and kinetic sculptures. throughout his life he continued to experiment with film making and creating sculptures of abstract patterns. The extended gallery and centre designed by Patterson Architects was added to Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth.


Len with Fountain of Hope (Peace) 1959. Courtesy Len Lye Foundation

The dedicated gallery designed to house the artist collection has appropriate exhibition and preservation spaces. An ode to his sculptural works, the Architects added a undulating and shimmering stainless steel facade which seems to be set in motion.

Led by a growing interest for his work and with support of Lye Len foundation established in 1980, the centre opened in 2015 adjoining the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. This extended art gallery houses Lye’s collection, exhibition galleries, an education centre and a 62-seat cinema hall.





From the Architects – 

This is New Zealand’s only dedicated single Artist Gallery.

The Len Lye Centre is designed to fulfil multiple requirements. It needed to integrate with a proposed new art and cultural precinct which links through to the commercial heart of the city and it also needed to seamlessly merge with an existing Art Gallery facility. The finished building introduces new gallery spaces, education studios, a cinema, the Len Lye Archive and a dedicated motor room for his kinetic works.





Floor plans – 1st – 4th floor


“[Len Lye would] be absolutely thrilled, he’d be dancing around in this place,” John Matthews, Len Lye Foundation Chairman.

The building of curved stainless steel and concrete, incorporates a new urban sculpture square linking to a waterfront walkway. The 3000 mts building engages with the urban square via a light reflecting and transmitting facade. This transfers light in a holographic effect from one place to another to successfully enliven and activate both.





Len Lye is known for his kinetic work, sculptural art powered by electricity. The building uses a sustainable energy source to practically include ESD principles in a high performance environment which is required by International touring exhibition standards. This energy system has been negotiated with the projects sponsors, a major international sustainable energy corporation.






Lyn Lee visitor centre



The project won many awards –

Gold Commercial Projects Award 2017
WAN Civic Building Award 2016
LGNZ: Excellence Awards 2016
Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place 2016
Stainless NZ, Innovation for Stainless Award 2016


Project details –

Project Name Govett Brewster Len Lye Centre

Architect Firm – Patterson Associates |

Lead Architect – Andrew Patterson

Design team – Davor Popadich, Andrew Mitchell

Project location – New Plymouth, New Zealand

Project type –  Cultural and arts, Arts gallery, Exhibition center

Completion Year – 2005

Client name – New Plymouth District Council

Photography Credits – © Patrick Reynolds Photography


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