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PROJECT REPORT: CULTURAL, CIVIC & FAITH BUILDINGS


31


© Johan Dehlin


The building links to the landscape in a variety of ways, “in a very Milton Keynsian way,” says Emerson. The idea of a large central window in the main facade overlooking the park was identified as the key means of achieving this, one which also creates a playful, characterful landmark for the town.


It was also a helpful device for ensuring balance in the overall design composition, during the very fluid early stages, as Tom explains: “After we put this big circle in it, we realised it doesn’t really matter how the proportions change – as long as that circle stays in the middle the whole thing is balanced. It turned out to be a very useful idea, because it’s very flexible.”


Forms


The resulting building is a combination of retaining and refurbishing the original two cubic volumes alongside Midsummer Boulevard (and tucked underneath the adjacent MK Theatre’s distinctive, oversailing porte cochere). As a result of this, and adding a further, more striking building, the gallery space provided has been doubled.


The set of three joined buildings are arranged parallel to the boulevard, with the public functions ranged along it. The two existing gallery buildings retain their original layout to an extent, with the main entrance and book shop sitting beside two


ADF APRIL 2019


galleries in the first, and a new cafe and a further gallery behind in the second, slightly lower, blockwork-built form. However the openings have been widened, suspended ceilings have been removed to add height and expose services, and walls have been remade and upgraded to international exhibition standards. Facing onto the boulevard, the cafe benefits from an outdoor terrace which will be very pleasant in good weather.


The addition of a higher rectangular gallery and auditorium building to the east, adjoining the cafe/gallery block, not only delivers the greater space the client wanted, it also provides the setting for some architectural flair using a simple, steel- frame construction. By moving openings between the first two buildings to align with those in the new addition, a wide circulation running between a new window to the front entrance building and a window at the far eastern elevation of the new building has been created. It’s possible to see through the entire three adjoining buildings to the trees of Campbell Park. The new building is simple, but precisely


crafted, with an enormous 11.8 metre-wide hole cut in it, its top half glazed to visually connect the building with the landscape. Downstairs there are two galleries, including a large central one, continuing on the line of its counterpart in the adjacent, existing building. To the west is a learning and


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK SPACE


Openings have been widened, ceilings have been removed to add height and expose services, and walls have been upgraded to international standards


© 6a Architects


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