The architect of the new Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth said the concept of a wharenui, or meeting house was the inspiration for his design of the $12 million art museum.
Andrew Patterson said he hopes the building conveys the essence of the celebrated New Zealand artist.
"A wharenui often takes the body of an ancestor or the identity of an ancestor and represents that physically, so the people of the wharenui can appreciate and know more about their ancestor and then they know more about their roots and a sense of belonging and we hope the building does the same thing."
Mr Patterson said the aesthetic, or pattern in the building most directly linked to Māori design, is the configuration of the walls.
Mr Patterson said they form an interlocking koru configuration that encircles the whole centre, and therefore Len Lye.
The Len Lye Centre opened at the weekend and the first exhibition, Len Lye's 'Jam Session', runs until December.