Concrete lends weight to a gallery designed by Allsop Gollings.
Carroll Fletcher, a new commercial art gallery based in central London, commissioned architect Allsop Gollings to create an exhibition space that is flexible enough to meet a variety of curatorial needs, and support artists who work in a variety of media.
A number of different sites were explored before a former fashion wholesale premises was found in Eastcastle Street, just north of Oxford Street.
The gallery is on the ground floor and basement of a mixeduse, mid-twentieth century building and has an internal area of around 370 square metres with a 4.6-metre-deep basement. The building works included gallery spaces, an office and storage areas.
‘Allowing change for the exhibition programme whilst avoiding any sense of superficiality led to the creation of a strong built infrastructure’, explains the architect. A new concrete stair and reception desk were cast in-situ, with the stair flights wrapping around a central void. The stair provides a point of orientation, and the imperfect nature of its as-struck concrete finish contrasts with the smooth white gallery walls.
The architects aimed to minimise visual interference from newly-installed services. Highlevel 30mm-wide ventilation slots were positioned at the junction of the wall and ceiling. The lighting track is fitted flush with the ceiling finish, and sprinklers are recessed.
The facade ‘provides an opportunity for the gallery to relate positively to the street,’ says the architect. A trabeated composition of basalt-clad beams and columns is presented as an asymmetric frame. The absence of a separate visible window frame to the waterwhite low-iron glass ‘reinforces the order of the basalt frame and makes clear the visual connection to the interior’, while the 3.2-metre-high entrance door introduces the scale of the space beyond. At opening shows and events, says the architect, ‘the threshold between the gallery and street should become blurred as the street is filled with people; the facade mediates between the gallery and the public realm’.
Architect: Allsop Gollings Architects; design team: Michael Gollings (top), Kevin Allsop; client: Carroll Fletcher; contractor: Delcon Construction; qs: Measur; services engineer: Mendick Waring; structural engineer: Elliot Wood Partnership; CDM: Butler & Young Group; approved inspector: London Building Control; survey: The Gordon Tomalin Partnership.
Selected suppliers and subcontractors
Lighting: Erco; flooring: PermaFloor by Q Flooring Systems; Wall linings: Fermacell; table: Valchromat.
First published in AT229, June 2012