Academy Award-winning Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop has designed a new museum of traditional Chinese medicine in Guangdong province, a New Zealand architecture firm says.

Wellington's Tilt Architecture, which has worked on other Weta projects, says it has been engaged by Taylor's Pukeko Pictures to use the Weta designs for the huge project in Zhuhai, China.

Plans for the traditional Chinese medicine museum. Photo/Tilt Architecture
Plans for the traditional Chinese medicine museum. Photo/Tilt Architecture

Tilt said it was engaged by Pukeko Pictures in March last year "to provide architectural design services on a new Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum in Zhuhai, China."

In 2017, it was announced that Taylor's Pukeko Pictures was set to be part of a new children's theme park in China after the Wellington-based animation studio signed a deal with a Chinese trillion dollar investor in Beijing for its Kiddets preschool television show to be part of the new park, which will be set in an area about the size of Paris.


Tilt, closely involved in the design of Matamata's Hobbiton, said the new medicine museum was part of much larger project.

"The museum is to be the centrepiece for a large city-scale development which is a co-operation between Guangdong and Macau Governments," Tilt says.

"The traditional Chinese medicine industrial park is intended to develop and promote the history, use and future of traditional Chinese medicine. The museum is the platform to get this information out to the people," Tilt says.

"Our role involved taking the Weta Workshop concept design sketches and developing them into a spatially correct 3D concept model. We used Revit to develop the bulk of the model and Rhinoceros 3D to develop the shape of the 'lotus leaf' inspired roof, and the external 'wings'.

"We worked closely with Weta Workshop to ensure the internal space planning would suit the expected number of visitors each day. We also worked with the Chinese project managers, local architects and the governing body, in order to meet their local standards and requirements," Tilt said.

The museum is now under construction with an opening expected later this year.

Questions have been put to Weta and Taylor about their involvement in the project but a response is yet to be received.

Gavin Urquhart, an architectural designer of Tilt in Wellington, this morning confirmed his involvement.


"It's a fascinating project, quite different to what we are used to working on in New Zealand. I've been up there about six times. Peter Jackson is not involved. It's a Weta Workshop project. I worked as a set designer on The Hobbit and I've been working on Hobbiton for about eight years."

The museum will be about 20,000sq m and has been designed to appear from the outside as a lotus leaf, which Urquhart said paid tribute to that plant's importance to Chinese medicine.

Hobbiton, where Tilt's Urquhart has worked for eight years. Photo/Michael Craig
Hobbiton, where Tilt's Urquhart has worked for eight years. Photo/Michael Craig

"It's a fascinating job and we have a great team of people in China. Weta Workshop is mind-blowing in terms of the ideas and creativity," Urquhart said.

The museum's displays "go back to the creation of the universe", he said.

Tilt's work includes Hobbiton's The Green Dragon, iSite at Matamata and Barraud House, its web site shows.