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Art Gallery, Piccadilly, York

Part 1 Project 2001
Tom Froggatt
University of Lincoln, UK
An art gallery on Piccadilly in York intended to relieve the pressure on the Leeds City Art Gallery, exploit the vibrant tourist industry of the area and to provide an art based social facility for the people of York. The site is in a particularly poignant part of York, both historically and in terms of the town's infrastructure, with direct proximity to examples of architecture ranging from medieval military installations to examples of modernity. It was my intention to provide a piece of architecture exhibiting characteristics of post-modern resistance, by which I mean attempting to explore forms of space and their various functions.

The project begins with a piece of photography. I use photography to collate my observations of materiality, texture, shape and, in the case of the image used, space. This photograph was then manipulated through 2D and 3D to find various combinations of forms. After various contortions of these, the building forms were generated. The scheme seemingly consists of two buildings but they are, in truth, only one. The form of the social section, and the contrast of materials, punctuating the gallery, symbolises the accessability of the art within. The social section grounds itself in the centre of a public plaza, where once there was a car park. The gallery spaces themselves include two mezzanines, and a small lecture theatre, with another public space created at the foot of the gallery facing Piccadilly.

Tom Froggatt

This project looked at the possible alternatives to the development of a real site; one that York City Council have formed a blinkered view of and to whose scheme there is great local opposition. The potential of this site is to open up and expand the boundaries of York’s attraction, linking this whole end of the city centre back into the thriving cultural, commercial and much-visited heart of York. Students were invited to meet this challenge.

In his final project Tom utilises York’s status as a major tourist destination to introduce a new regional Modern Art Gallery. This helps balance the presence of the Minster at the far side of the city centre and creates a new, more complimentary environment for Clifford’s Tower, respecting its status as a memorial to the Jewish Martyrs.

Tom’s work from second year has concentrated on the development of a building from a related, abstract image. This image is worked on in tandem with the organisation of the building, so that an abstract can be brought into the living, three dimensional world. The building completes a triangle with Clifford’s Tower and the Castle Museum with the River Foss as a rediscovered part of that townscape. In doing so he effectively gives the run down Piccadilly/Walmgate area new life by encouraging a different approach to York and a new cultural focus.

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