Massey University’s School of Fine Arts needed an entry lobby to the ‘Engine Room’ student gallery. This new threshold space is welcoming with light providing a sense of identity to the gallery as well as a suitable ante-room to the gallery space. Built on a very modest budget, this extension has given the ‘Engine Room’ an identity and has economically transformed the gallery into an inviting and dynamic space.
The existing gallery is a modest and utilitarian concrete building. The gallery entrance faces a major pedestrian route to the northern campus. The existing heavy concrete building has peaked roof-lights, and a thick brow at roof level.
The section and elevation of the addition is generated from manipulation of the existing concrete roof beam. This heavy element is visually folded to form the new roof, wall and canopy. This gesture conceals the awkward end elevation of the existing roof lights while creating a dramatic double height space. The lobby subtly plays with the white box gallery model. High and low level glazing, and the eastern view connect the gallery to its location and add a sense of place.