Sunday, June 15, 2008

King St Newtown - Art Gallery

This was by far my favourite project in terms of the outcome.
I started with an exterior which was slices of interior and exterior like utzons controlled spaces, but the interior I had envisioned was more like Villa Muller stretching between levels.
The site's shape was so unique I was instantly drawn to it and its subtle beauty. This was something I definately did not want to lose and in fact draw out.

By framing views within the building as well as on the video screens along the rear of the building allowed for very controlled views which either increased privacy or forced the viewer to discover what lays beyond. Again an idea taken from Utzon. My outcome, with the clarity of hindsight, seems to be almost Libeskind-esque but that could be due to it's shape more than its language and aesthetics.

The front facade is entirely closed but is made to engage the public. The awning has been retained to respect the continunity of the street and for the publics benefit as there is nothing worse than ducking quickly past a shop in the heat of the day or the wet of the evening. The street level contains maps and information about the gallery and the street art and murals around the site, community notice boards and other community focused iniatives.

The top of the building has been reinstated to replace what was lost and to respect the two buildings next to it. The front upper faced is a video screen which mimics the buildings next to it during the day creating a respectable and calm facade, whilst during the evening plays performance art, as well as webcams from around hotspots in the world with fresh young art as it happens.

The art the building displays is of Melbourne Street Art and Banksy, an unknown persona in the UK who does phenomenal work.

In many ways the rear of the building is infact the front of the building and so is treated as such with a welcoming entrance. The building uses ramps to allow for easy access through out the space as well as provide unique views and places for artworks.

The modification of the open/closed system was in reaction to the siting of the buildings around it which creates a much more interesting built form.

The workshop on the second floor has a large opening to promoteinteraction between the users and the public, with the office also looking on to it but private from the rest of the gallery.

The storage space on the ground floor again is open to allow for viewing and light with the kitchen leading off it to serve both the living quarters and the gallery.

The living space is layered behind this including large open windows which are again focussed and angled to include and preclude certain views, with plenty of room for the owners friends to stay.

The performance space is a bold, large area not seen from inside the gallery but instead from its roof terrace or from one of the video screens.

The video screens around the gallery are touch-screens which either play art works on a loop, a featured selection or a performance going on. This allows the gallery to show artworks it would never be able to otherwise due to location, size or cost. Due to the nature of graffiti artworks it is very site based and so these webcams would allow a viewer to experience the art happening in Melbourne, New York, London and beyond. They can even show an artwork in progress without the normal constrictions.

I saw this gallery as being for the community of Newtown, both the gerneral community and the younger section of the community interested in street art, clearly supported by the council in its wonderful murals and public art works.

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