The New Zealand Trust Board Air Force Museum is planning to undertake a NZ$15m ($12.2m) expansion of Christchurch’s Air Force Museum at its existing facilities in Wigram.
The expansion is required to better preserve and showcase aircraft and large artefacts currently in storage as well as provide extra space for aircraft expected to be added to the collection over the next few years.
Air Force Museum director Therese Angelo said the original plans to expand museum space by 4,200m² had been further extended to 6,200m² of extra space, which would more than double the museum building’s existing footprint of around 5,000m².
The cost of the extra work on the project is about an extra $2m and the total project is scheduled to be opened by October or November 2012.
NZ$11m ($9m) will be invested in the first phase to build a 4,200m² aircraft display gallery which will later include an adjoining purpose-built aircraft and large object restoration facility.
Architectural plans for the new building were completed in 2009 with a planned start date in 2010 but due to the Christchurch earthquake in September 2010 the project was delayed.
The museum expansion has been designed by Warren & Mahoney in association with Alan Reay Consultants, Beca and Rawlinsons; the new facility will meet the new structural code and incorporate improved seismic stability.
The building has been designed with sustainable features, including energy efficient lighting, solar hot water heating and rainwater harvesting systems.
Angelo and museum business manager Dave Clearwater said the expansion was initially intended to make way for extra aircraft and displays.
That plan would now be put on hold for up to three years until the expanded space served its purpose as a convention area catering for between 800 to 1,000 people.