In the contemporary art galleries featured here, the architecture is as much the protagonist as the art itself. A mixture of styles, these elegant galleries are examples of a more personable type of art space: smaller than the huge galleries found in many capitals, they are places for those who are curious about art and the architecture in which it is housed.
1. Suiyue Art
In Chengdu, China, the capital of Sichuan province is a hub of Sichuan-style art. DA Integrating created a new art space for Suiyue Art in a former 1980s office building. Blending old with new, the gallery’s white facade is a contemporary contrast to the original architecture. Its long and narrow interior is a white and bright minimal space.
At a site by Lake Chapala in Mexico, Atelier ARS has transformed a former auditorium into a new center for culture and arts. In developing the center, the architects incorporated traditional clay elements from the region. In one structure, a brick latticework encloses a patio for exhibitions and gatherings; in another, the facade is clad in overlapping ceramic elements that are reminiscent of “tejamanil” — a shingle-style cladding that typifies the local vernacular.
In Brussels, Belgium, Robbrecht en Daem architecten completed a spatial reformulation of Gallery Xavier Hufkens as well as the addition of a new extension (shown in the top image). In a contemporary meets classic style, a new monolithic volume adjoins a classical mansion house. “The design is an interplay between two houses in which the floor levels are aligned so that a 'promenade architecturale' can run through both sides of the building,” says the architect. (The “promenade architecturale” is a central element of Le Corbusier’s architecture, where "fluid spaces reveal themselves as the visitor progresses.")
Aurelien Chen Architect designed an art gallery extension for Nanjing University of the Arts. Located within a lively dormitory setting, the two-story fair-faced concrete exhibition hall connects to the street and an original bridge, improving accessibility. The second floor of the small building includes a vaulted veranda.
“Threshold and Treasure” denotes the architectural intervention undertaken by Italian studio AMAA to transform a former 19th century printing house into an art gallery. AMAA approached the project by questioning the role of both “threshold” and “treasure” in art and architecture, placing an emphasis on the role of the art gallery. Read more about the project.
6. The Barn
Boano Prišmontas has created an original structure that blends traditional barn design with modern CNC technology. The Barn in Hertfordshire, UK, is a private art gallery and “the perfect space for art enthusiasts looking for a moment of contemplation and reflection,” says the architect.
In the Haimen District of Nantong City, China, Jianli Art Center was designed by GOA (Group of Architects). Built by the water, the art center’s design draws upon the dwelling prototype of “house surrounded by moats,” something that is peculiar to this particular region.
Associates Architecture completed a two-floor house and gallery in a densely packed neighborhood of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The monolithic volume is wrapped in white plaster and stands on a trapezoidal plot on an existing stone plinth. “The house and gallery is a restrained showcase of light in its different moods,” says Nicolò Galeazzi of Associates Architecture.
In Funabashi, Japan, the Nishiji Project by KOMPAS is a family residence, art gallery, and office designed for an art collector. Custom-designed Kuroibushi kawara, a traditional roofing tile, is used to clad the building. Two facade styles have been utilized, one shingle and the other louver. Kuroibushi kawara is a blackened variety — resistant to salt damage, its solid appearance protects the art collections and living quarters. The galleries are located on the building’s southern (front) side where they are a part of the urban fabric.
SIRS Architects has converted a former 19th century brewery building in London’s East End into the The Gilbert & George Centre. Respecting the artists’ appreciation for London's architectural heritage, many original features have been preserved. The center’s design includes a newly built basement level and above-ground side extension. “By combining historic and contemporary elements, the project honors the building's industrial past and aligns with the artists' vision of architectural spaces and art display,” says the architect.