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An art gallery for David Hockney and Antony Gormley in the city of Bath

Part 1 Project 2000
Mark Eacott
University of Bath Bath UK
'A geometric form existing as a green space is cut and raised like an urban carpet. The ascending walk through the sculpture park is a progression to an elevated view and entrance into a gallery; that is torn from the ground -- scarring the earth. The effect of the ascent and piercing into the roof plane, confuse and disorientate -- the datum level is lost and revealed'. (Extract from project report)

The location for this new art gallery -- a small triangular park behind the famous Royal Crescent in the City of Bath, proved a rich urban context which this project takes as its departure point. Having initially responded to the site with a simple yet bold concept the most difficult part of the design was in carrying through the bold statement without diluting the initial idea. The concept was derived from my concern for routes to the site, with lighting conditions for the gallery, and in maintaining the 'green space', both for the immediate high-level housing and the skyline of Bath.

Attracted by the public sculptures on the grassed roof plane, visitors are led up the grass slope, which offers views to the inner courtyard and the city beyond. At the climax of the route is a glazed 'crystal' that makes a link between external/internal routes: here the circulation and gallery experience fuse. Almost unaware of their ascent, visitors 'screw' down into and under the roof plane. Paintings hang from rails fitted to the underside of the roof. In section, the internal galleries slope, and visitors are pulled underground. Hidden from view are the teaching and staff facilities, which are under the internal courtyard. A mirrored glazed roof teases light into the galleries as visitors descend.

Mark Eacott

The work here is representative of the final projects of the group graduating with a BSc in General Architectural studies, this summer 2000. The year's studio work was divided into two parts:

1. A joint collaborative project between architects and civil engineers held for a period of eight weeks in the autumn of 1999. This was for a New Gateway to Bristol: a study of the future of Temple Meads Station.
2. A final project for an art gallery and sculpture park/landscape undertaken over a period of fourteen weeks. Before this, the students undertook group precedent studies of the artists Hockney & Gormley and a range of relevant galleries. Groups also studied and presented three contrasting sites in the Bath area, from which the students had to chose one.

The projects presented here are taken from the final project, the Hockney & Gormley art galleries.

Attitude towards final BSc year project work.

It is the aim of the school that students achieve competence as well as design flair by the end of the first degree. The thin sandwich BSc course is seen as a preparation for useful employment in the industry as well as for the second degree (which is an MArch at Bath). In the final project, it is expected that the ideas explored will be supported by evidence of an understanding of the processes needed to realise them.
Great stress is given to the importance of tying projects firmly into an architectural context. The nature of that context is carefully chosen by the year staff so that it presents challenges that match the students' maturity, and encourages the best students to experiment.

The art galleries by Mark Eacott and Andrew Wood are on two contracting sites. The sites are strong in their topographical character and are full of interesting 'overtones'. Both students produced a clear analysis that led to an imaginative design synthesis, which they developed by researching a new steel product, Bi-steel. There are no completed buildings using this technique at present and it is hoped that these schemes and a number of others produced in the year will be published to show its potential. Although the architectural approaches of Eacott and Wood are very different, both schemes move from concept to detail with a confidence and sensitivity that is unusual for Part 1 students.

• Page Hits: 2211         • Entry Date: 09 February 2000         • Last Update: 10 May 2001