Located at the rear of a standard residential lot, the MAK Gallery serves as a utilitarian exclamation to a very non-standard architectural property. Operated by the MAK Center for Art & Architecture Los Angeles, artists and architects travel from around the world to stay in six month residencies in the main building, the Mackey Apartments, originally designed in 1939 by Rudolph Schindler, a Viennese emigre and early pioneer of the modernist landscape in Los Angeles.
The MAK Gallery project operates both conceptually and literally as a “black box” which is cantilevered on top of an existing garage structure which has been renovated to serve as studios for the visiting artists in residence. A new 800 sf gallery hovers above these studios, creating a large, flexible gathering space serving a variety of functions. A large multi-stacking sliding door system, constructed from aluminum frames and structured polycarbonate panels. When open, these doors transform the interior space into an elevated outdoor room focusing on the main buildings rear facade, courtyard and roof terraces which are a prominent part of the original architectural strategy for the property.
To contrast with the pristine white plaster of the main building, the new building exterior is coated with a dark, spray applied fluid membrane know as “Wetsuit™” by Neptune Coatings. Typically used in industrial applications, this raw material serves as both weatherproof enclosure and architectural finish, paying a contextual homage to Schindler’s earlier works where industrial materials and construction techniques were appropriated for a residential context.
Together these new spaces add to the vision of the MAK Center’s social and artistic program. By allowing such flexible uses as gallery space, dining room, film theatre or dance floor, the new MAK Gallery continues the legacy of its architectural neighbor, by encouraging the cultural use of domestic spaces.