Focal Point Gallery

Manalo and White Architects, Southend-on-Sea, 2011

 

Subscribe now to instantly view this image

Subscribe to the Architects’ Journal (AJ) for instant access to the AJ Buildings Library, an online database of nearly 2,000 exemplar buildings in photographs, plans, elevations and details.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

 

Morgan O'Donovan (website)     Download Original

  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  •     
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Room plan    
  • Elevation    
  • Elevation    
  • Existing ground floor plan    
  • Detail: glass wall    
  • Detail: glass wall    

A contemporary art gallery within a 1970s-built brutalist concrete-framed municipal library in Southend-on-Sea

Focal Point Gallery has a reputation for commissioning and exhibiting work by international artists with an emphasis on lens-based media. Manalo & White were invited to design a new exhibition space which sits on the second floor of Southend-On-Sea Central Library. It provided a unique opportunity to form stronger links between the gallery and library users by creating playful connections with the characterful, 1970s-built brutalist building.

The detritus of forty years of institutional accretions were removed to reveal the richness of the original building fabric, rejuvenating the coffered concrete ceilings and chocolate brown windows. The qualities of other finishes throughout the library are reflected in the detailing of the gallery, such as reclaimed hardwood beading which references the teak-lined doors of the original municipal fit out.

A timber-framed glass screen reads like an X-ray of a stud wall, exposing the work displayed and activities within. The rhythm of the timberwork occludes views out of the gallery space back into the library and prevents visitors from feeling like they are similarly on display once inside.

Data

  • Begun: Dec 2010
  • Completed: Jan 2011
  • Floor area: 43m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £9,000
  • Tender date: Nov 2010
  • Procurement: Traditional.
  • Address: Focal Point Gallery, Southend Central Library, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6EX, United Kingdom

Professional Team