Well known Timaru architect Ronald Dohig brought a spirited approach to his commissions, and is particularly noted for two civic buildings – the South Canterbury Museum (1966) and the extensions to Aigantighe Art Gallery a few years later.
The museum was created at a time of new directions in New Zealand architecture. Auckland had seen the fresh new work of an architects' collective known as The Group, and the Christchurch modernists were also gaining momentum. Both movements showed how simple forms could be exciting in themselves without decoration, be that olde worlde decoration or any of the quirky movements of the 20th century such as Art Nouveau or Art Deco.
Both at the museum and the art gallery extensions Ronald Dohig included strategic glazing as an element to enhance the interior experience – particularly the glazed pinnacle shown here above the gallery at mezzanine level. However for some time now natural light is not tolerated within such archival spaces, and the glazing is blocked out. The reworked Auckland art gallery flirts with the idea of natural light, offering some glimpses up to Albert Park, while the Christchurch gallery has an exaggerated wall of glazing out front, with humble darkened rooms beyond.
Seemingly with the correct screening of the harmful components, natural light can be allowed back in. The National Art Gallery in Canberra has a powerful collection of indigenous peoples' art, lit by bright natural daylight from above, and in Europe some of the major private collections are also enjoying this luxury.
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