It was a big problem, in a big space, in perhaps the grandest hilltop building in Auckland.
And it's taken a big sum - $38 million - to fix, but the results are stunning.
The Auckland War Memorial Museum's south atrium has been too small to accommodate the 70 per cent of visitors who enter through that entrance.
It is closer to the car park than the elegant Victorian front foyer entrance and you can't fight convenience.
But the stunning architectural space was being encroached upon by an abrupt dark wall that sectioned off another exhibition room.
As Auckland museum chief executive Dr David Gaimster points out, the renovation of one quarter of the building's exhibition floor space does far more than just spruce up the decor.
"One of the major objectives of this major investment, the biggest in a generation, has been to reconnect the two entry/exit connection points of the museum," Gaimster said.
"There was a labyrinth of galleries set between them and there was no direct access particularly from the south entry and atrium space to Māori Court.
"It was a real problem for us that there was very little direct access into that hub of the museum and people would get lost, they would get tired and we couldn't actually correct it."
The revamp also builds upon the Pacifica aesthetic of the architecture and "re-reveals" the huge Tanoa bowl centerpiece hanging from the ceiling that had been gradually obscured since its creation in 2006.
Several new artworks adorn the atrium including an intricate wood carving across two huge curved entrance doors by Graham Tipene.
It creates a pōwhiri threshold and depicts two women's faces, of different generations, sliding to face each other as the gates are closed.
There are stylish new retail stores, bars and a kai room for guests to bring in their own food.
Across the other side of the atrium is a looping animated audio-visual experience that shares the arrival of the three mana whenua iwi of the museum area.
"This for me has been a transformation and I hope ultimately it will be a catalytic project for the next few generations because that entry point to an institution, a cultural destination like ourselves, is absolutely vital to get right," Gaimster said.
"That's the point of arrival, orientation, entry and that was poor before.
"Now it is revealed in all its glory for visitors to share."
Construction on the south atrium transformation began in March 2019 and was designed by Jasmax Architects. Its official opening is on December 3.
Refurbishment of existing galleries surrounding the south atrium space