28th February 2011
GlassTalk – Art Work
Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) is one of the bargains any State Government has bought in recent decades. Since opening in 2006, it has played to packed houses and wide acclaim. Designed by Architectus (Lindsay and Kerry Clare with James Jones), the gallery’s robust form and delicate edges have attracted a growing stream of admirers. Not least international gallery curators eager to experience first hand this architecture of deep space, light and shadow. The Gallery Set on a grand stage with more than 25,000 sqm of space, GoMA is as much a building of beautiful nuances and shades as it is of muscular confidence. Daylight is an anathema to most art and some curators view it as a natural enemy best avoided. The gallery is naturally lit in plan and section thereby helping the building relate in a most complete way with climate and site. While direct sunlight is kept at a distance from exhibition areas, it filters through major public circulation areas. Call it brave, bold or inventive, but there is a palpable difference in this gallery that animates its collection of large, intermediate and intimate galleries. Glass has not been a large part of the tradition of major galleries, however with projects such as GoMA, this is changing. Art of Glass Technology and smarter design even in potentially hostile climates is allowing the emergence of far more open, permeable structures. So much so, that three elevations use almost entirely glazed façades in combination with broad-bladed roof overhangs, timber screens and translucence to filter, tease and usher light as required. The architecture displays an unusual synchronicity between the slender musculature of the exterior and the rhythmic concertina of exhibition spaces. For a building of such civic grandeur it is the only one of the Arts precinct buildings that connects with its surroundings and addresses its river frontage and the CBD opposite. All elevations are similarly considerate as they are dynamic – a charcoal metal clad box housing the Cinemathèque on the south-west, a chequer board of glass and fretwork of slatted timber on the north-west parkland elevation, a translucent glass wall on the south-east towards the State Library and, facing the river and beyond the city on the north-east, a full height clear glazed wall. Each elevation presents as a specific response to circumstance and conditions whether arterial, sun, river or city. What GoMA may lack in shock value is more than compensated for with its sublime identity that provides its artwork with such a complete sense of belonging. See the full case study on the Viridian Glass website. Please register your email (above right) for notification of future GlassTalk articles.