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BS1 Art Museum | Gallery | Market

Part 2 Project 2011
James Turner
University of Bath, UK
BS1 Art aims to create a ‘Home for Bristol Art’. Bristol city centre bears the scars of wartime bombing, is strangled by post-war infrastructure and has been left forgotten by subsequent layers of development, with Castle Park as a physical memory of this broken cityscape. The site was created through an initial strategic masterplanning proposal for the wider city centre to create a new gravitational pull within the city.

The gallery aims to ‘make art more accessible’, through a diverse spatial journey and sense of heightened domesticity, making for a more familiar and accessible viewing experience. This is juxtaposed with a diverse range of architectural backdrops akin to the genre of art exhibited.

I believe art and architecture should manifest and communicate cultural values, although arguably ‘Most art [architecture] means nothing to most people’, due to their failings to communicate, or the misunderstanding of complex embodied messages. Creating a journey through the building, the human experience of transition, the entrance, and the subsequent experience of the building portrays an overall domestic scale, intentionally bringing the lofty art world down to a level within reach of all the intended users.

The proposal aims to use contemporary ornament, whereby the building as a piece of architecture [art], manifests and communicates the cultural conditions of its creation, integrated as ornament into the essential construction of the building through its detailing and materiality. This could present an argument, for a more culturally sustainable and timeless style of architecture that speaks of its time, place and society. Ornament is not used in the traditional manner as an appliqué, but is carefully embodied into the overall narrative of the building, such as the familiar yet unfamiliar long format brickwork, and clipped expressive form developed from the idea of a simple pitched roof.

The journey through the building reconnects with the visitor with the forgotten historic remnants of the city. The line of the original castle wall encloses a new urban woodland and sculpture park, sitting between the gallery and its’ poignant connection to the memorial church ruin, as a memory of the past.

James Turner


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