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Sir Hermann Black Gallery

Part 1 Project 2005
Edmund Spencer
University of Sydney, Australia
A contemporary art gallery for the University of Sydney, the Sir Hermann Black Gallery negotiates a complex triangular site at the junction of the University campus and the surrounding inner-urban community. The challenge was to create a building which both embraced its context and provided a reflective sanctum within. The solution derives from the strong geometry of the site with two intersecting cubic volumes anchoring two mysteriously skewed sculpture terraces which rise from tranquil pools and project from the solid core. The forms shelter a new forum activated by commercial tenancies with the Gallery entry at their centre. By creating a serenely mysterious object intricately related to its site, the new Gallery seduces visitors to explore their surrounds and forges a new relationship between the University and the local community.
Edmund Spencer

Edmund Spencer’s solution to a class brief is one of exemplary elegance in its programmatic, formal and contextual interpretation. The building’s delicately proportioned geometry responds directly to the difficult triangular site. The main rectangular form, along the length of the site, links through aerial bridges to two smaller cubic forms that embrace a forecourt inviting exploration. Dramatic spatial contrasts and logical pathways skilfully engage visitors to journey through the building’s permanent art collection. The strength of this solution lies in its outstandingly skilful command of program, space, materiality, architectural form and site to create a building of deceptively simple elegance.

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