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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

OSU Postal Plaza Gallery in Stillwater, Oklahoma by Elliott + Associates Architects

April 4th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Elliott + Associates Architects

Vision Statement: The vision for the Postal Plaza Project is to create a place for the display of art; a place to safely and appropriately store art; and a place for the education of students of Oklahoma State University and the citizens of Stillwater and Oklahoma.

The southeast corner of the historic post office building now transformed into the Postal Plaza Gallery for Oklahoma State University. The budget only permitted us to do minor improvements to the exterior., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

  • Architects: Elliott + Associates Architects
  • Project: OSU Postal Plaza Gallery
  • Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma, U.S.A
  • Photography: Scott McDonald
  • Completed: October 4, 2013
  • Scope: 16,000 sq. ft.
  • Cost: $3.7M

The main entrance with the bronze doors, eagle and the adjacent arched windows are shaded from the inside to create a hint of the new contents., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Architectural Concept: The architectural concept for the new Postal Plaza Gallery is to create a teaching space, viewing galleries, and a state-of-the-art storage facility to accommodate a new and growing collection. Our concept revolves around the idea of turning the space inside out. Our goal is to allow visitors to see behind the scenes to see how works are cared for, how an exhibit is organized and hung, and to expose the visitor to the process of collection management.

The bronze doors and eagle grill glow from reflective light., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

This is the first time for the concept to be used in a university art space. Allowing the visitors to “peek” into spaces not normally visible is a perfect arrangement for teaching collections operations, care, and exhibition installation. Ultimately, the goal is to engage our community broadly, including OSU alumni, to help us create a world-class art collection and programs that can be used to support research at OSU and for educating students of all ages.

The cast bronze light poles and handrails provide a romantic balance for the cast stone work., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Our inspirations for the project concept are called Word Paintings

  • We want to encourage donors to trust us and to entrust their collections to OSU for posterity.  How can we do that?
  • It will be storage for a future building.
  • There will be transparency.
  • There will be permeability.
  • It will be a Teaching Museum.
  • We will be able to see behind the scenes in order to learn.
  • We will show how it works . . .
  • We will encourage a peek into normally hidden spaces
  • The idea of observation is shared with the original post office security plan.
  • We will celebrate the storage.
  • An inside-out plan will focus on teaching.
  • Remember the skylight as a peek.
  • It is art & storage.
  • It is art & storage. Is it storage & art.
  • It will be raw and in the process of becoming.
  • These words, phrases and ideas begin to shape the project.

A view looking east towards the front door.The ghosts of the three skylights and security catwalk windows are clearly visible. Surprisingly the exposed steel has orange primer. Coincidentally?The university colors. An exhibition is being installed., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

What was once the postal sorting room is now the main gallery space. The overhead catwalk and windows remain in place where postal security once watched the postal sorting process. Three skylights once provided light for the sorting room. We chose not to reopen the skylights for fear of potential storm and water damage. Instead, the skylights are shown as “ghosts” in their original positions. Cable lighting spans the space and the lights float in the volume. A new ceiling surface was suspended below the existing plaster ceiling. The original plaster ceiling had so many holes that it was less expensive to cover than to repair. The image shows an exhibition being installed., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

A detail of the main gallery showing the skylight “ghosts” and the security catwalk. An exhibition is being installed., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

The free hanging blackout shades cover the windows and protect the art from harmful UV rays. The light leak tells you more. Late in the day the light reflects blues., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Two blackout shades create a unique corner condition.The reflected light illuminates a corner in a ghostly way. The image tells us about the past and the future., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

A view of the southeast corner of the 1960s addition exposes the clay tile and concrete block wall. The steel addition begins to be exposed. The walls in the space are temporary and are being prepared for an exhibition., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Gallery B looking west with the existing vault in the foreground. The 1960s mezzanine is visible in the upper left. An exhibition is being installed.,Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

We chose to expose the intersection of the original 1933 building and the 1960s addition. The uplighting of the orange steel and exposed structure celebrates the history and the future. The catwalk windows add mystery., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

The main entrance into the art collection archive. Most institutions would not allow this visual connection. Because this is a teaching institution, seeing behind the scenes is part of the education., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

The art collection archive looking east the archive resides in the 1960s addition, and the 1930 post office building is exposed on the right., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Art storage panels, Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

The postal service security catwalk showing the access ladders., Image Courtesy © Scott McDonald

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

Image Courtesy © Elliott + Associates Architects

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Categories: Art Gallery, Cultural Center

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