Newseum. A modern art gallery in Newcastle. Uni Project. 2010.
The main driver for my design was to create a new public space that is engaging and active. My first decision was to close Zaara Street to traffic, creating a new public domain by the beach. It can now be landscaped and host to travelling pavilions, public art, markets and events. I've taken this further by extending the public domain through the building. You can walk all the way through from Zaara Street to Moroney Avenue without entering the gallery. On the way through, you will find the urban farm, the gallery's bar with its garden looking over Zaara Street and you can look down into the gallery's sculpture court.
The form of the building has come from its context. Newcastle East has beautiful historic houses and is very much a village. It is also being bombarded with new apartments. It was important the building was not too offensive in scale and I've tried to evoke a sense of village as you meander through and around the spaces created. While the form pays tribute to the old Newcastle East, it's simplified, sculptural and of modern materials. The translucent skin allows the building to glow at night, throwing silhouettes, further engaging the Zaara St streetscape.
On Zaara Street, facing the public domain, is the entrance foyer, the gallery's cafe and bookshop Upon entry to the foyer, you are faced with three directions; down to the theatre, up to the permanent collection or straight through to the travelling exhibition. The permanent collection continues upwards revealing various scales of gallery spaces. All the administrative facilities are on the Moroney Avenue side of the site, with a private entrance. Although joined internally, it is nearly entirely separate from the gallery. The Scott Street frontage hosts two commercial spaces for lease, appropriate for retail, with no entrance to the gallery from this side. Gallery space can be seen above.