The bricks of this residential outbuilding were placed in 1893. The walls have pencil scrawlings from 1904 and 1908, noting ‘safety tires’ and ‘speedometer’ adjustments. The ceiling has aged to a pale brown patina. Divots, cracks, holes, and stains circumscribe every surface from the century of use. After emptying the place, uncovering the windows, and washing the walls, one discovers a pale silver grey coating on the brick.
All of this remains.
Within this setting, the contemporary project for an art gallery is to provide for the presentation of new objects, images, projections, and constructions. The context is taken as fact – beautiful and dirty – and the project is to utilize and amplify its presence without being nostalgic.
~ The oversized wood carriage doors remain on the exterior of the structure. When these are open, so too is the gallery. To enter, you pass through a new threshold of glass and steel doors.
~ Infrastructure for air, power, light, and sound are threaded into the existing building to provide a viable facility for the handing and display of art. Pre-existing holes haphazardly cut into the ceiling remain, and are utilized for these hidden services.
~ Six new panels are cantilevered in front of the old walls. They are framed in steel, touch neither the ceiling nor the floor, and are painted white. One of the six rotates 90 degrees to change the space from path to destination, from art gallery to installation room.
~ Through the uncovered windows, natural light spills from behind the new panels, floating these surfaces. New incandescent light is focused from above.
What is not there is as important as what is.