Courtenay Place Park light boxes

A New Zealand first, Courtenay Place Park light boxes form a highly public exhibition space in the midst of Wellington’s central city environment.

The eight 3-metre high steel and glass LED light boxes were designed as an integral part of the Courtenay Place Park and were unveiled in May 2008.

The light boxes encourage people to reflect on this busy and diverse urban centre, even if just for a minute.

Each exhibition lasts for four to six months.

Current exhibition

An image of the Gordon WIlson Flats with a white textural image over the top of it.
Standing still, still standing by Deanna Dowling

Standing still, still standing

Artist: Deanna Dowling
Graphic Design: Mike Peters
Photographer: Ted Whitaker

23 October 2021 – 24 January 2022

Standing still, still standing, uses photographic documentation, archival imagery and text to explore modern architectural value systems. Pōneke-based artist Deanna Dowling’s new light box exhibition reflects on the history and future of the well-known and highly debated Gordon Wilson Flats located on The Terrace in Pōneke Wellington. Through a process of extracting and editing small excerpts of text from articles discussing the situation this building find itself in, Dowling’s poetic text and image works invites viewers to consider the relationships between people, place and structure.

In a city where land is precious and housing is limited, has the building become a symbol of the problems the city faces? And what will win: preservation or progress?

Designed by Gordon Wilson and his team within the Ministry of Works Architectural Section and built between 1957–1959, the Gordon Wilson Flats embody modernist design thinking in Aotearoa New Zealand. This building is one of two remaining modernist and brutalist high density social housing structures, built under a post-war government. With few alterations ever made to the exterior of the building, the integrity and form of the mid-century design has never been compromised.

An architectural artifact, slowly becoming a modernist ruin, this structure and the smaller, neighbouring, McLean Flats exist in a form of stasis. Vacant since their closure in 2012 due to structural safety concerns, the site was sold to Victoria University of Wellington in 2014 for six million dollars. Perched below the university and caught in “The battle over Wellington’s ugliest building”; between those who fight to preserve this symbol of innovative social housing and those who render it useless. Victoria University intends to demolish it.

About the artist

Deanna Dowling holds an MFA from Massey University. Recent exhibitions include: Notes on time, Gus Fisher Gallery Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2021); Hold, RM Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2020); The crab and the rock, Taipei Contemporary Art Center, Taipei (2019); SOLO, The Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt (2018) and The sea we built on, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Ōtepoti Dunedin (2016). Deanna was a recipient of an Asia New Zealand Foundation residency at Youkobo Art Space in 2016, and the winner of the National Contemporary Art Award awarded by Waikato Museum in 2014.

How to exhibit

For info on how to have your work exhibited in the lightboxes, see our exhibition opportunities page.

Previous exhibitions

View information and images from past projects. 

Contact us

Eve Armstrong, Senior Arts Advisor

Mobile: 021 227 8207

Email: eve.armstrong@wcc.govt.nz