Darragh O'Brien Masthead

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Carlow Gallery and
Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

A Temporary gallery for Carlow and a State gallery design for Queensland.


Art galleries


Competition entries

The entrance to the Carlow gallery was to be gained through a RAIN GARDEN, an open sided volume measuring 20m x 20m x 12m, contained under a cantilevered roof at the South East corner of the site. The giant cantilevered roof suggests a state of dormant instability, a temporary space extracted from the solid raw material of the building block. The garden seeks to redefine our relationship with the elements through the introduction of a controlled quantity of rainwater. This is the welcoming space, a place where the gallery offers its contents to the visitor. It is a place where artists can work, a host for sheltered external events including multi media and cinematic activities. The bar and cafe activities can also spill out during the summer months.

Visitors move from the rain garden to a volume of similar height. Strategically located at the centre of the building, the FOYER controls access to all three galleries, the bar and the office and classrooms. The office is located on the second floor mezzanine overlooking the foyer. The glazed west wall connects the foyer with the future commercial cloister. The entry volume is suddenly compressed as the visitor enters the main gallery, through a wide but low aperture.

The design for the QGMA was conceived as a continuous surface that envelopes the collection. The triple height foyer space was intended to house large works of art, viewable from an upper level walkway. The cinemas are expressed as amorphous floating objects, contained by the gallery skin. Outside, in the plaza, a series of satellite galleries would be used for experimental exhibitions, festivals or simply to sample the contents of major exhibitions in the main gallery. Fully self-contained, these mobile satellites could take international art out of the urban centre to the hinterland beyond.