Ravenscar House

Canterbury Museum and the Ravenscar Trust are working together on a project which will see New Zealand’s first contemporary house museum open to the public by mid 2020.

Ravenscar House designed by Patterson Associates. All Rights Reserved

Ravenscar House designed by Patterson Associates. All Rights Reserved

Ravenscar House, is being developed and funded by the Trust to replace the original Ravenscar House at Scarborough, the former home of Trust benefactors Jim and Dr Susan Wakefield.

The 520 sq metre single-story grand residence, designed by international award-winning architects, Patterson Associates, will be built at 52 Rolleston Avenue, opposite the Museum.

When completed at the beginning of 2020, the Trust will gift the house to Canterbury Museum. The Museum plans to convert it to a contemporary house museum, displaying the Ravenscar Collections of New Zealand fine and decorative arts, sculpture, designer furniture and classical antiquities collected by Jim and Susan Wakefield since the early 1990s.

The Wakefields had always envisaged that they would gift their Scarborough house to the people of Christchurch to display the Ravenscar Collections, but the earthquakes forced a change of plan. The Rolleston Avenue site was gifted to the Museum for the project by the Christchurch City Council in 2016, following public consultation in 2015.

Earthquake rubble will be used in the aggregate to make the precast concrete panels for the house. The precast concrete panels, which are custom manufactured by Bradford Precast of Ashburton, incorporate granite from the Scarborough property, red brick from another house owned by the Wakefields that was demolished post-earthquakes, and volcanic stone remnants gifted by The Arts Centre of Christchurch.

The house will be built on a base-isolated platform over an 880 sq metre secured basement car park (25 spaces), with an external public car park (25 spaces) accessed from Worcester Boulevard.

The Ravenscar Collections

The Ravenscar Collections of paintings and objects are regarded as one of the country’s most important private collections. The Ravenscar paintings collection (see below) includes works with a Canterbury emphasis including a 1948 Colin McCahon of Taylor’s Mistake and Rita Angus’s Cass, 10 works by Frances Hodgkins, portraits by Charles Frederick Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer, and paintings by female modernists including Gretchen Albrecht, Lois White and Evelyn Page.

Other objects in the Collections include French bronzes, New Zealand sculpture by Paul Dibble, Terry Stringer, Jeff Thompson and Graeme Bennett and art glass, ceramics and furniture by New Zealand and overseas artists and designers. Antiquities include a strong collection of Roman domestic tools and equipment.

Ravenscar Trust

The Ravenscar Trust is a registered charitable trust set up in 1999. To date, all of the Trust’s capital has been derived from gifts made by Jim and Susan Wakefield and the subsequent investment of those funds. Trustees are professional individuals with expertise in a number of fields. The Chairman, Steve Wakefield, is Jim and Susan’s eldest son.