Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Glass house

It was kind of sad to see the George Rickey sculpture Double L Excentric Gyratory had been removed, from what had always seemed its permanent position next to the Auckland Art Gallery. This in preparation for their new extensions.

The drawings for the new building are puzzling. The architect is Richard Francis Jones, an Australian glass guy. This seems an odd choice given the problems the Christchurch Art Gallery has had with its own glass-skin foyer (too cold or too hot) and the amount it will inevitably cost to heat or cool such a massive volume. It feels a long way away from current architectural efforts towards sustainability. Then there is the tinting required to stop UV getting through the high-tech double glazed hush glass. Having just had it installed in our own building, it is ok for looking out but very dark to look into, and does change the interior light. It also makes the drawings of the Gallery as a transparent box, revealing the green hue of the park behind the building, a bit of a stretch. It certainly won’t be surprising to see blinds or some sort of elaborate louvring system being added to the picture at some stage.

There's another oddity in the recent rash of galleries adding large foyers - mostly to cater for conferences and large events. What most of these corporate events really need (Powerpoint still rules) is a black box with a fixed AV station. Foyers most often produce groans from event managers. A foyer too far? Time will tell.
Images: Left, the New Old. Right, Rickey RIP.