5468796 Architecture and numberTEN architectural group release competition entry for Art Gallery of Greater Victoria competition
Currently housed in an aging mansion and cluster of Modernist additions, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in British Columbia is in need of extensive renovation. A competition for the transformation project was won by LWPAC Lang Wilson Practice in Architecture Culture Inc. + Moore Architecture Inc. Associated Architects, but here we consider the shortlisted proposal by 5468796 Architecture and numberTEN architectural group.
Instead of the standard redevelopment approach often taken in such competitions, 5468796 Architecture and numberTEN architectural group stepped away from the existing building form and conceptualised a completely new 'village’ of smaller pavilion structures. These buildings would encourage visitors to wander through the gallery forms and experience each of the elements of the institution at all hours and from all directions.
This active pedestrianised hub meets the competition stipulation of creating a ‘downtown presence’ in the museum’s largely residential location, providing a penetrable space that is firmly stitched into the urban fabric. In order to create a gallery experience that cannot be matched anywhere in Canada, the design team posed a building system that would make visitors feel as though they were passing through a tree canopy.
In order to do so, the upper level gallery floor would be immersed in the dense tree canopy of existing oaks and sequoias, organically weaving throughout the towering trunks. The glass walls would then be sheltered by an innovative system of wooden quills that cantilever from an external structural mesh, diffusing the light penetrating through into the exhibition spaces within.