Never mind the wall space to hang it, how will we even get it in the room? This forlorn cry of the art lover with big eyes and a small apartment may be a thing of the past with an award-winning, inner-city structure setting an exciting precedent.
Art Stable is a seven-storey, mixed-use building that includes ground-level retail space, first-floor parking and five stacked residential units designed to cater to owners who are artists, art dealers or gallery owners. Created by Olson Kundig Architects, with Tom Kundig as design principal, the urban infill project is built on the site of a horse stable which perhaps was the inspiration for its most distinctive feature.
"The building has active elevations at the front and back," says Kundig. "On the street side, large hinged windows open to provide natural ventilation through the units. On the alley-facing side, to the rear, five giant steel-clad operable doors cover nearly a third of the facade."
These doors allow residents to move artworks into or out of the building with ease. They are operated by an innovative system that references a device traditionally used in warehouses handling oversized goods.
"The mechanism involves opening the large 2.4m x 3.6m doors by hand, via the operation of a crank wheel. Working in conjunction with the owners, builders and engineers, we designed a 24.5m-high hinge that supports the vertically stacked doors and terminates with a rotating rooftop crane," says Kundig.