Main Contractor Confirmed
The seismic strengthening of Aigantighe’s House Gallery will start early next month following the awarding of the main construction contract.
Farrell Construction, a Canterbury-based company experienced in working with heritage buildings was this week awarded the contract to strengthen the 118-year-old house. They are planning to get the work underway on December 4, with a target for completion by August 2024.
The house was closed in 2017 following a seismic assessment which found the structure to be 10 per cent of the New Building Standard.
Aigantighe Art Gallery Manager Cara Fitzgerald said she and the team were delighted to have a start date for the Heritage House Gallery Project.
“It is a significant milestone in the effort to preserve and enhance this historic building.” she said.
“The Aigantighe Heritage House Gallery holds a rich history as the former residence of the Grant family and its subsequent transformation into a public Art Gallery in 1956.”
“The strengthening and restoration project, under the guidance of the appointed contractor, will play a crucial role in bringing the Aigantighe Heritage House Gallery up to modern standards.”
“The restoration efforts will not only focus on meeting safety standards, but also on preserving and highlighting the building's unique heritage features.”
The Aigantighe Art Gallery’s Collection is of national significance and this project will make sure the building’s interior systems are up to modern standards and while on display the artworks will be protected according to museum standards.
“The inclusion of new climate controls and fire suppression systems further demonstrates a commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability and protection of the Aigantighe and its collection.”
“These modern additions will contribute to maintaining the building's structural integrity and safeguarding its valuable contents.”
“This project reflects our drive to balance preservation with contemporary requirements. It's an exciting development for both the local community and anyone interested in preserving and celebrating historical and cultural heritage.”
“This project not only contributes to the preservation of local history but also enhances the region's cultural infrastructure by maintaining a public art gallery.”
A significant part of the tender was ensuring that local skills and expertise were an integral part of the project. While Christchurch based, the majority of trades and suppliers being used by the company are local.
Farrell Construction Commercial Manager Adriaan Bester said that the whole team was pleased to get the opportunity to work on one of Timaru’s most high-profile buildings.
“We are excited to be working on another project in the Timaru District and getting the opportunity to bring one of the community’s most beloved buildings back to public use.”
“As part of our tender we’re bringing our significant experience in managed complex, heritage projects and committing to bringing as many local trades and suppliers on board as possible.”
Farrell Construction have been the main contractor for several notable projects which required structural strengthening and restoration or refurbishment.
These include St Patrick’s Church in Akaroa, the recently opened Endoscopy Unit at Timaru Hospital and Te Puna Wanaka at Ara, Christchurch.
“Through our work on the Timaru Hospital project we have already built-up relationships with local trades and suppliers and will be looking to develop these further through this project,” said Adriaan.
Aigantighe (Scottish Gaelic for ’home of welcome’ and pronounced Aig-an-tighe) was originally built in 1905 (attributed to the architect James S Turnbull) for Alexander Grant (1831-1920) and Helen Grant (1854-1955), who had emigrated from Scotland and farmed Gray’s Hills Station in the Mackenzie Country.
The Grant family lived in the ‘Aigantighe’ for 50years; Alexander Grant passed away in 1920 at the age of 89, and his wife Helen in 1955 at 101. Their daughter, Jessie Wigley, with the support of her brother, James Grant (who had inherited the house on their mother’s death) gifted the house and its grounds to the people of Timaru in October 1955 to establish the District’s first and only public art gallery, to be known as the Aigantighe Art Gallery.
Timaru born Architect James S. Turnbull is attributed to designing some of Timaru’s most notable buildings including the Coronation Buildings which is now the home of Farmers on Stafford St and the former Chambers Presbyterian Church on Elizabeth St which is now the Saint George’s Coptic Church.
House Project Passes Major Milestone
The project to strengthen and restore the Aigantighe Heritage House Gallery has reached a major milestone with the issuing of resource consent for the work.
The issuing of the consent marks a significant step in the project to save the 116 year old heritage building, Aigantighe House – formerly owned by the Grant family, and gifted to become the region’s public Art Gallery in the mid-1950s.
This strengthening and restoration project will see the Aigantighe Heritage House Gallery, attributed to the architect James S. Turnbull, brought up to code, with its heritage features restored, and new climate control and fire suppression systems installed.
With this resource consent issued, the strengthening and restoration projecthas now entered the developed design phase – where the lead architect, structural engineer and heritage architect continue to work through design elements of the heritage listed building.
A building consent is scheduled to be lodged in the middle of this year.
The Project Manager, Hamish Pettengell, said that the consent’s approval is a significant step that enables the project to progress.
“The resource consent is a prerequisite for some of the identified funding opportunities for the Heritage House Gallery. This means we can now approach these funders and progress with the fundraising required for the project,” he said.
“The planned funding for the Heritage House Gallery will be obtained from a range of sources including central government, community trusts and community fundraising for the estimated $3 – $3.3 million project.”
The resource consent application was lodged at the end of February 2021 and incorporated an archaeological assessment, a heritage impact statement, and concept designs for all aspects of the project – including architectural drawings, that included electrical, mechanical and fire design.
Being a heritage listed building, the resource consent process required consultation with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
“Gaining the support of Heritage New Zealand is significant, and places the project on the right track to preserve the building for generations to come,” said Pettengell.
Further Funding from Friends of Aigantighe
The project to strengthen and restore the Aigantighe Art Gallery’s Heritage House Gallery has been boosted by another $25,000 thanks the Friends of the Aigantighe.
The Friends of the Aigantighe recently announced that they would pledge the sum towards the seismic strengthening and restoration of the 116-year old, category-2 heritage listed property, which closed in 2017, when the building was deemed to be earthquake prone.
This matches a donation recently made by the Timaru Civic Trust to help fund the project.
The Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery was founded in 1976. They are dedicated to encouraging engagement in the visual arts and supporting the Aigantighe Art Gallery through volunteer and financial assistance. Today the Friends has over 180 members, who enjoy a range of benefits including invitations to exhibition openings and events, regular email newsletters and a discount at the Gallery shop.
On announcing the donation, Geoff Cloake, on behalf of the Friends Committee said that it was fantastic that they could provide this support to help bring the Heritage House Gallery up to its former glory.”
"It's so exciting to see preparations well underway and a great future for the house assured,”
“It's even more exciting to know we will be walking through again, seeing it and our precious art even better cared for.”
“Congratulations to the Aigantighe Art Gallery Staff and Timaru District Council for recognising the uniqueness and stepping beyond restoration to make the gallery experience even greater than before.”
“In recognition, and to match the Civic Trusts pledge, the Friends of Aigantighe are thrilled to make this pledge and build on the 45 years of support." he said.
Planning and preparation works on the estimated $3 – $3.3m Heritage House Gallery project is well underway and will deliver significant improvements to the building. Physical works are planned to commence later this year, once funding for the project has been secured.
Project Manager, Hamish Pettengell, welcomed the donation saying it is another significant boost for the project and shows growing community support for the project.
“The Friends of the Aigantighe Art Gallery have supported the Gallery in a range of ways for over four decades. One of the key ways in which they’ve supported us is in the conservation and restoration of some of our nationally significant artworks.
“Aigantighe House is probably the biggest and most important artwork in our collection, so it’s fitting that the Friends will play a key role in helping us bring it back to life.
“The Gallery is very grateful for the Friends ongoing support and proud of the legacy they have built over the past 45 years.” he said.
Aigantighe Art Gallery is open daily while the Heritage House Gallery Project progresses, the exhibitions currently on display include My Beloved, which features favourites from the Gallery’s permanent collection and Cellular Memory, a stunning exploration of micro-biology, oceanography and mathematics by Elizabeth Thomson. For more information about the Aigantighe Art Gallery, visit aigantighe.co.nz
Civic Trust Boosts Heritage House Gallery Project
The project to strengthen and restore Aigantighe Art Gallery’s Heritage House Gallery has been boosted by $25,000 thanks to a significant donation.
The Timaru Civic Trust recently announced that they would pledge $25,000 towards the seismic strengthening and restoration of the 116-year old, category-2 heritage listed property, which closed in 2017, when the building was deemed to be earthquake prone.
The pledge was announced this week by Timaru Civic Trust Chairperson, Nigel Gilkison.
“The Timaru Civic Trust are pleased to be able to support the fundraising efforts of the Aigantighe Art Gallery with a pledge of $25,000 to help kick-start the fundraising campaign for the restoration of the House Gallery,” he said.
“The Aigantighe Art Gallery, and in particular the House Gallery, offers a unique and distinctive public space to showcase the Gallery’s significant collection and our District's abundant local artistic talent to the wider community as well as to visitors from out of town."
Planning and preparation works on the Heritage House Gallery is well underway, with preliminary design completed and a resource consent application recently lodged. Physical works are planned to commence later this year, once funding for the project has been secured.
The project will cost an estimated $3 – $3.3m, with Council confirming last year they would contribute one third towards the total project cost. The remaining funding will be sourced from central government, community trusts and community fundraising.
Project Manager, Hamish Pettengell, welcomed the donation, saying that it was great to have community support for this important cultural project.
“The Heritage House Gallery is an important cultural facility for the District. This project will see the building brought up to code, the heritage features restored, plus climate control and fire suppression systems installed, ensuring the long term preservation of the building for future generations.”
“It’s fantastic that the Timaru Civic Trust has recognised the value of this project for the communities of South Canterbury and on behalf of the Gallery we would like to thank them for their support. “ he said.
Aigantighe Art Gallery is open daily while the Heritage House Gallery Project progresses, one of the exhibitions currently on display is My Beloved, which features favourites from the Gallery’s permanent collection. For more information about the Aigantighe Art Gallery, visit aigantighe.co.nz