The Great War Exhibition, created by Sir Peter Jackson, is a fascinating journey year by year through the First World War to commemorate the role New Zealand played and for the public to experience the challenges faced by our brave soldiers.

 The transformation of the former Dominion Museum and National Art Gallery in Wellington to house the Great War Exhibition was a challenging project from the outset. WSP Opus was commissioned by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage to scope and assist in the design of an exhibition located on the main level of the three-storey building predominantly occupied by the Massey University College of Creative Arts (COCA).

Through our role in providing architecture, structural engineering and project management services, our team worked with Sir Peter Jackson’s team to provide a balance between captivating exhibits and the historical character of the category 1 Heritage building.

Collaborating closely with the exhibit designers Sir Peter Jackson and Wingnut Films, our construction and structural knowledge led the design and coordination of the exhibition base infrastructure along with upgrades to the building, including the restoration of the heritage toilets and complex accessibility arrangements to reinstate the original main entry.

Extremely tight time-frames added extra complexity to the project, and demanded smart, collaborative design and excellent communication between all the parties involved. The combined knowledge of our architects and consulting planners, Heritage New Zealand, and Wellington City Council helped our team to provide a comprehensive design solution that efficiently obtained the necessary Building and Resource consents. Our Architectural and Structural team’s quick understanding of the size and complexity of the building, its heritage values and architectural importance, underpinned our leadership of the project from the initial concept design through to the final successful exhibition.