'The Yard' Gallery - Modern Art OxfordEdit profile
Modern Art Oxford 'The Yard' Oxford, UK 2010 A redefinition of existing ground floor facilities with a new multi-use space providing a flexible programme of films, performance events, installations and café bar. Modern Art Oxford’s brief to promote access to, and use of the Gallery was met with the transformation of an existing delivery yard into a new type of gallery space for the UK, a New York type ‘storefront gallery’ venue. The new 5 x 15 x 5m ramped lobby is itself positioned as an installation work; not permanent, plastered or white, but carefully constructed from unadorned massive engineered timber and polycarbonate panels. The large continuous laminated timber surfaces create a powerful simple backdrop, allow curatorial freedom, and offer fixing points anywhere. Artists will in turn react to and transform this entry space with an ongoing programme of exhibits. The Yard provides a new entrance and overall image for the museum on a more active street frontage, with direct level access, in central Oxford. Streetscape improvements are envisioned with the scheme as catalyst. The Yard is intended to address the pedestrian or cyclist; shoppers and tourists are as welcome as students and regular gallery-goers. The deliberate omission of façade connects the gallery directly with the Oxford streetscape by day. At night, a specially painted and perforated roller shutter invites the passer to view interior and exterior as a simultaneous artwork. The interior can clearly be perceived as sculpture, the 1.5mm thick façade as a painting. The Yard emerged from an idea for an ‘art box’ from the MAO Director. The architects pursued this modest project as an interior intervention, seeing the potential to unlock the existing 19C building, and coordinating contributing design input of structural engineer, catering consultant and specialist LED lighting manufacturer. With contributing artwork for bar, furniture and roller shutter by collaborating artist, the design presents gallery architecture as ‘useful art’.