Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
London floating exhibition gallery in UK by OFL architecture + fueralab
May 28th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: OFL architecture + fueralab
The concept design for the floating gallery on the River Thames comes from a single moment, an inspiration, hence, a re-discovery and re-interpretation of a landscape. We strongly believe that contemporary architecture, clearly influenced by time and politics and socio-political issues, needs to also maintain a direct dialogue with nature. A dialogue not only understood as literal interpretation but subjective definition, a metamorphosis of form and meaning. We propose to base our design concept on a topography, a cut, a landscape; reinterpreting the idea of fluidity, whether in a liquid stage or a fixed ‘frozen’ surface.
Water is our inspiration. Water is life, breath, power, and above all things, beauty. The floating gallery takes all these elements, proposing a fluid exhibition space for recreational uses and contemplation; a city landmark… a landscape.
Across an intensive study of the vegetation and its colouring, we have based our exterior exhibition space under the large possibility of varying the colour four times a year. Four different typologies of flowers, actually, will colour the entire landscape cyclically, every four months, hence revealing the current season: red tulips during spring, yellow freesia during summer, blue iris during the fall, and orange narcissus during winter. These coloured threads will cover the landscape partially, accentuating the visual perspectives that will accompany the visitor in a thread of colour from red to orange, with a constant for the rest of the landscape which is the green colour.
One important aspect of the design concept is to express a sense of fluidity and flexibility throughout the exhibition spaces and other programme, yet to propose not just an iconographic/recognizable object for the River Thames but an ever changing sign, an image that represents the city of London and its instances. The inner life of the floating gallery will be projected on it’s outer skin -or landscape, allowing for a strong visual morphosis and colourful transitions. Fluidity will also be expressed through form on the exterior, opened spaces of the vessel, allowing for a place for relaxation, observation and play, where people may take a moment to challenge the laws of space, climate and reflection. The shape of the landscape will be fluid, and it will be a literal interpretation of water moving across the River Thames, rising from a vast sea into a new technological world.
The floating gallery project proposal is a transformation and re-interpretation of a landscape, a fluid space where inside and outside borders are blurred. The exhibition space/auditorium and temporary exhibition spaces are placed inside the landscape and they are defined in the form of an exhibition path that runs the full length of the vessel space. Intersecting this exhibition path is the cafeteria with storage room and bathrooms. The cafeteria is placed on the centre of the vessel floor plan, allowing for an interior space that is visually connected with the whole. The observation spaces are thus distributed along the vessel, and are found as exterior spaces that connect the interior with the exterior landscape. The landscape is in turn, an extension of the given competition program, allowing for a sculptural garden, observation deck and a place for relaxation and meditation. This opened sculpture garden can be also enjoyed by people crossing the different bridges along the competition guidelines, serving as a form of open gallery for all.
Double Skin Envelope Concept
The VESSEL envelope has been first conceived as a sculptural artifact. To translate the free (fluid) form into a defined geometry that can be build with today’s construction methods and within a reasonable budget is one of the key challenges for a unique project like this one. The building envelope embraces the floating gallery vessel like an organic woven piece of cloth with variable roof heights. There is no differentiation between façade and structure. The whole building envelope has been merged into one continuous sculptural element composed of two different systems: an external glass and vegetation plane and an internal organic wood truss mesh. This double skin envelop has been carefully crafted to give the gallery an almost fluid appearance of soft transition from concave and convex, from transparent to opaque. The two façade systems converge and reject one another in a subtle way, offering ever changing perspectives for the beholder both inside and outside the vessel. The structure that holds together these two façade layers functions as a homogeneous mesh of wood trusses and glass panes, giving structural unity and coherence throughout the concept design.
The exterior glass facade and interior wood truss structure are arranged in a way to prevent direct sun-light penetrating the exhibition spaces. Furthermore, the outer skin glazing has a relative high reflectivity. The outer glazing design has been conceived as random openings placed strategically among the green vegetation, allowing for a certain amount of light inside the various spaces of the vessel, such as the cafeteria, common rest areas, and observation deck.
Contact OFL architecture + fueralab