9 Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch.

Listed as a Group 1 heritage item with international or national importance in the Christchurch District Plan, and by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 Historic Place, the Robert McDougall Art Gallery is one of a number of significant civic landmarks built in Christchurch during the 1930s and forms an important part of the townscape around the Botanic Gardens.

Pre-earthquake photographs of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery

Robert McDougall Art Gallery

Contact us

Visit www.gets.govt.nz(external link) to find out more, ask a question, or express an interest in the Robert McDougall Art Gallery.

GETS is the Council’s electronic tender portal where you will be prompted to register as a supplier. The GETS RFx ID for this building is 19443433.

The closing date for submitting expressions of interest in this building is midday 3 April 2018.


A generous donation of £25,000 from successful businessman and philanthropist Robert E. McDougall enabled this gallery to be built for the city on a portion of Hagley Park that was vested in the City Council for the purposes of building an art gallery.

In 1930 a competition was held to select a design for the new gallery and this was won by the architect Edward Armstrong. Influenced by classical architecture pared back by the modernist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, the McDougall Gallery was constructed in brick and concrete and faced with Oamaru stone.

Armstrong stated that one of the aims of the design of the McDougall Art Gallery was to allow natural light to fall onto the artwork by the use of skylights, but without the light falling onto the visitors or the floors.

The gallery is also associated with architect Samuel Hurst Seager, who wrote the brief for the gallery’s design and was involved in the assessment of competitors.

Earthquake damage 

The Robert McDougall Art Gallery was closed after being badly damaged in the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquake sequence.

Whilst no significant repairs have been completed since the earthquakes, the Council has taken a number of measures to prevent further deterioration of the building until such time that repair, strengthening, reconstruction and restoration works commence.

A key focus of this preventative maintenance has been patching up weakened areas of the roof membrane and cracked glazing to stop water entering the building. Investigations are continuing to find a solution to stop further leaks, until a long term solution can be implemented. Works have also included the removal of asbestos that was deemed to be or at risk of being friable. There is still asbestos in parts of the building, but it is not considered to be friable.

There have been a number of investigations carried out into ways to strengthen the building and bring it up to the New Building Standard (NBS) 67 percent requirement. A number of strengthening methods have been considered, ranging from core drilling of the external walls and some internal walls, new steel columns or posts, using a steel frame, or steel beams, or a combination of these methods. There has been no decision made on the methods to be used, as this will need to consider the future use and available funding.

Further information

For further information in relation to this heritage building, its current condition and repairs strategy, please refer to the below: