New Art Exchange, Nottingham
In September 2003 the New Art Exchange was formed as a new organisation to steer and manage the development of Nottingham’s first dedicated cultural facility for Black contemporary arts. The main driver for the construction of the Art Exchange was for the project to act in part as a catalyst to regenerate a tough and deprived inner city suburb of Nottingham. The local community had long realised that Hyson Green had been neglected in terms of regeneration, however took pride in their ethnically rich and diverse community. The New Art Exchange was informed by the requirements of not only the local but national user groups, being the only art institute dedicated solely to the promotion of Black and South Asian Art. The programme consists of several studios, galleries, workshops, a rehearsal space, cafe , artist in residence and offices designed to enable the local community to engage in the arts. The New Art Exchange was primarily funded by the Arts Council however several local stakeholders including the City council also contributed financially to supported Throughout the design process from inception to completion there was a requirement for Hawkins\Brown to liaise with and present the scheme to the funders and user groups . Hawkins\Brown in partnership with the New Art Exchange undertook consultations with the user group, and local community, consultation that informed the final proposals. As part of the ongoing programme of artists engagement Hawkins\Brown collaborated with Hew Locke to produce site-specific work, which integrates into the building fabric. Hew Locke has made a ceiling installation in the ground floor café, comprising aluminium plates screen printed with imagery of the local area. This work provide a counterpoint to the building’s rigorous rectilinear form as well as celebrating and promoting the centre’s relationship with its immediate heritage. Hew Locke continues to collaborate with in the New Art Exchange by way of mentoring and supporting local artist’s that are given a platform to exhibit their works at the New Art Exchange. The building is a facility for students from key stages up to Higher Education to experience exhibitions by regional and international artists. The NAE have forged links with local universities to create opportunities for students to exhibit here. Part of New Art Exchange’s ongoing programme of education and outreach. The building was designed with intention to create a building of solidity and gravitas, a strong footing for the largely ethnically diverse communities who over the years have settled and made their home in Hyson Green. It was also designed to be constructed inexpensively and by local trade labour with help from young people from building training colleges. The building, which deploys a concrete frame to support a semi glazed external skin, is distinguished from the ubiquitous red clay buildings of the neighbourhood by its black brick façade. A playful arrangement of frame less windows ranging in size (from 0.16 sqm to 4.84 sqm), offers incidental and unexpected views into and out of the building. Punctuations in the wall, for windows and doors, are treated as an opportunity to express the thickness of the wall. Windows are recessed by 1½ bricks with a brick soffit reveal formed of 25mm brick slips cast onto bespoke designed precast concrete lintels. Other windows are set flush to enhance the appearance of depth to the recesses and provide animation across the façade. The New Art Exchange was designed from the outset with sustainability in mind . The building exists as one of only several naturally ventilated galleries in the country .The buildings fabric utilises a well insulated external skin constructed of brickwork punctured utilising an array of randomly located operable windows, enabling ventilation of the interior spaces. A robust concrete frame supports the building, the concretes thermal mass acts to absorb excess heat generated within the building and releasing it , when the buildings interior cools, thus minimising extreme fluctuations in the buildings internal environment, enabling a range of artwork to be displayed.

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  • Louise Mason-Drust
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  • added a digital reference
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