The $20 million revamp of Titirangi's Lopdell House is stepping up in the New Year with work starting on strengthening its frame and refurbishing the building.
A feature of the design by Mitchell and Stout Architects is to remove old top floor additions for a rooftop terrace.
This viewing area was a popular feature when the Mediterranean-style building was a luxury hotel. It has also been a nightclub, a school for the deaf and an Education Department training centre. Bold plans for the heritage arts centre emerged eight years ago after new earthquake standards came in and its 1930 masonry structure was found lacking.
The present gallery is in the old hotel dining room and cannot offer the environment major galleries expect when lending their works.
The Auckland Council has put in $12.3 million for strengthening and restoration of the hilltop building under an agreement with the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.
Other funds have come from the Trusts Community Foundation, ASB Community Trust and New Zealand Lotteries Commission.
The first stage of the project - improving the carpark behind Lopdell House - began this month. When the project is completed in two years, Lopdell House will become the main arts, theatre and cultural centre in West Auckland.