CULTURAL ICONS

Both buildings encourage visitors to enjoy the river and outdoor spaces as much as the cultural experiences within.
A view of the two buildings which form architecture, building, city, cityscape, condominium, corporate headquarters, downtown, evening, hotel, lighting, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, night, real estate, reflection, sky, skyline, skyscraper, urban area, water, blue
A view of the two buildings which form the Millenium Arts Project.

VISUALLY, THE two buildings that form the Millennium Arts Project bear little resemblance to each other. The exterior of the Gallery of Modern Art draws on the heritage of the traditional Queensland house, with its timber screening, verandas and walls heavily shaded by a large cantilevered roof. By contrast, much of the State Library's concrete exterior is green, which allows the horizontal plane of the landscape to merge with the vertical plane of the building. Nevertheless, both buildings encourage visitors to enjoy the river and outdoor spaces as much as the cultural experiences within.

For Architectus, designers of the Gallery of Modern Art, the more obvious solution would have been to run the building parallel to the river, to mirror the linear arrangement of the State Library and other buildings on the site. However, say Kerry and Lindsay Clare, lead architects on the project, it made more sense to do just the opposite. The placement of the gallery at right angles to the river links it not just to the waterfront but to the site's other buildings, plaza and park.

"This also created a large outdoor space facing the river, to be enjoyed all through the year," says Lindsay Clare.


A view of the two buildings which form apartment, architecture, building, city, commercial building, condominium, corporate headquarters, evening, facade, headquarters, home, house, metropolitan area, mixed use, night, real estate, reflection, residential area, sky, black, blue
A view of the two buildings which form the Millenium Arts Project.

One challenge for the joint architectural team from Peddle Thorp Architects and Donovan Hill, who oversaw the design of the State Library, was encouraging people to explore the venue without feeling intimidated by it. At the same time, the building had to house the State Library services and huge repository of books and archives under one roof for the first time.

Rather than massively extending the footprint, which was mooted as an idea, the architects added another storey onto the existing library. This freed up a grassy public space where the extension was due to go. Another novel feature of the library is the pedestrian walkway and staircase in the central atrium.

Known as the Knowledge Walk, the stairway takes visitors into the atrium and back into the library as they move from level to level. As they do, they temporarily connect with the outdoors as they move into the semi-open atrium with its natural ventilation and glass skylight, says architect Timothy Hill of Donovan Hill.

A view of the two buildings which form architecture, building, city, cityscape, condominium, corporate headquarters, downtown, evening, hotel, lighting, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, night, real estate, reflection, sky, skyline, skyscraper, urban area, water, blue
A view of the two buildings which form the Millenium Arts Project.

"We know that people enjoy the indoor-outdoor flow in their own homes and we wanted to do the same thing with this public building," he says.

Visitors arriving at the entrance can also look through the central atrium to the Brisbane River beyond, says Brett Hudson from Peddle Thorp Architects.

Inside both buildings, flexibility of use is the key. In the library, people can choose different environments, from large auditoriums to private study areas. The art gallery is designed for temporary shows rather than permanent collections. Furthermore, any of the 15 gallery spaces can be enlarged, reconfigured or used for digital performance or installation art.

Dec 22, 2006
We know the specialists