Johannesburg Art Gallery
The Johannesburg Art Gallery
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The Johannesburg Art Gallery extentions expanded Sir Edwin Lutyen's historical edifice in a contemporary idiom. Winning both a design and conservation award, this project drew international attention, and earned entry in Sir Bannister Fletcher's authoritative 'A History of World Architecture', as well as Kenith Frampton and Udo Kultermann's 'A Critical Mosaic of World Architecture'.

This extension to an existing art gallery designed by internationally renowned architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens, was conceived as an appropriate and complementary compleiton of the original unfinished 1912 building.  The extensions are specifically desitned not to detract from, nor compete with Lutyens’ concept of harmony between the building and its park setting.

Design parameters were dictated by the client’s request for a large additional area of naturally lit exhibition space, the need for flexibility by sub-division with screens, and the need to redress the lack of continuity between the gallery and its park setting. The architects attempted to incorporate these necessary features while remaining faithfully to the original footprint laid by Lutyens.

In order to provide the large area of space required, and to achieve the intention of sympathetic fusion of the building and the park, the extended exhibition area is placed partially below ground level to form a threshold platform as foreground to the historical building.  The park “flows up”, over the terraces formed by the extensions, onto the new copper roof of the gallery.  This will purposely be allowed to tarnish, so that the resulting verdi-gris will blend with the green park vegetation.

The original south portico remains the major point of access while a new covered portico receives visitors from the park into the new foyer, from where access is gained into the existing exhibition halls and new lower level gallery.

A variety of public-oriented facilities have been incorporated into the design.  These include temporary exhibition space, a library, sunken water garden, sculpture courts,  a children’s art workshop, and a coffee shop on upper level with a terrace overlooking the park.

A unique and sophisticated system for the diffusion of natural sunlight has been developed.  Silk-screened glass skylights control the entry of sunlight, while deflective aluminium louvres and light-reflecting shelves bounce light back onto the inner surface of the barrel ceiling.

To harmonize with the sandstone of the original gallery, sandstone-coloured reconstructed stone is used, reinforcing the relationship between old and new elements and conforming to severe budget constraints.  Sandstone coloured brickwork forms the main fabric of the extension.


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