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King's Pavilion Gallery

Part 1 Project 2012
David Eagleton
Robert Gordon University Aberdeen UK

The brief set for the project was to establish a new art gallery in the existing King’s Sports Pavilion building. The notion of such a brief demonstrates a significant step in the re-use of existing buildings on the Aberdeen University campus that have over the course of their life become surplus to the Universities requirements, and attempts to highlight the possibilities that exist within our built environment.

The pavilion is a grade b listed building. The project challenges the stagnant conservation framework within which we must look at buildings, and attempts to step away from the politically correct idea of conservation to apply a strategy that encompasses the life of the building and its surroundings. Through adopting a looser framework within which a new entity could be brought into being an approach to sustain the scale and spatial qualities of the existing was established.

Through re assessing the understanding of the constraints for working with the existing building a rational strategy could be attained. A sensitive approach towards material transformation was a key factor. New insertions show a material and tectonic sympathy with the existing. The definition and separation between new and old is challenged with the focus of making a new collective whole taking preference. In doing so the building becomes more focused towards housing the function and program demanded of it as a whole.

Throughout the Aberdeen University campus there is an historic precedent for courtyards. Through the changing typology that has taken place around the campus in both the historic and modern building fabric the courtyard has remained prevalent and gives the area a unique urban pattern in Aberdeen. The aim of the project was to make a building that would become a culturally rich place, along with providing an intense experience within the gallery. Through carving out a courtyard in the existing, immediately a platform on which these aspirations could be achieved is created. The existing swimming pool lent itself to becoming a courtyard through which a new entrance to the gallery could be formed and in turn a new corner of Aberdeen could be created.

David Eagleton


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