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Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday 27 Jan 2010

Alberta’s Aurora

Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada
(c) Richard Lemermeyer 
Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton by Randall Stout Architects in Alberta, Canada
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 25

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25/08/10 russell claxton, macon
This is far better architecture than the comments here would lead one to believe. The point of Gehry's work, and obviously Stout's, is the joy of freely-formed shapes that can now be used to define spaces. This wasn't feasible before computer-aided design / fabrication.

The way in which this manner of architecture composes views and spaces - to / from the outside and within the building envelope - can be truly enjoyed by anyone not burdened with self-important "knowledge" of architecture. The detailing - eg allowing gaps in metal components of an interior wall - is deliberate and departs significantly from the stodgy correctness expected in 20th-century thought.
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09/02/10 jeremy scott wood, Boston, MA, USA
form follows frenzy school of design
05/02/10 Roberto, Florida
Pherhaps Architect's design intentions was to make appear his building like the main piece of art to be displayed before our own naked eyes. It remainded me of a Sanford and Son TV re-run that I watched recently in wich Mr. Sanford built out of different pieces of metal trash his final piece of art legacy without any success.
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05/02/10 william rogan, shenzhen, china
stout must be one HELLUVA salesman!
04/02/10 malcolm Ho-You, Ladysmith
Is architecture a jumble of forms that is meaningless expect to please the naked eye----------or arouse once senses with twisted ridiculous shapes. What happened to form follow function ? Malcolm Ho- You Architect Ladysmith BC
03/02/10 Randi Millman, Ithaca, NY
I am very surprised by the ridicule this building has gotten - I am not sure why really. Before we criticize it further, perhaps we should see it in person and then comment.
03/02/10 CP, Toronto
This is even worse than Libeskind's addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Looks like a Libeskind failed effort to do a Gehry.
03/02/10 mr eyday, toronto
appalling. this thing is a farce.
03/02/10 DR, seattle
I'm embarrassed to be an Edmonton native. This abortion of a building is a total travesty...a rip off of Stout's own work and several other "form" generating designers, most obviously Gehry. It's a total missed opportunity as several years ago the project had potential to be a significant piece of Canadian architecture with the short list of Erickson, Hadid, Alsop and unfortunately Stout. There was excitement in the city with the arrival of a new public space and desperately needed world class art facility. Several local designers voiced their concern over Stout's selection, but the anti-critical local media paid no attention. Now we see the AGA committee chose wrong and the scar is open spilling puss and blood into the streets. Put this one behind you, Edmonton, learn from this mistake and move on to an enlightened future.
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02/02/10 Glen Grayson, Halesite, NY
A classic "meal of desserts". I will hand it to him that at least he took the forms expressed on the exterior and carried them through to the interior. Unlike much of Gehry's work, which is just a wedding cake on the exterior, over a structural box.
That said, just because high powered computers make it possible to design and construct projects like this doesn't mean that we should.
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Art Gallery of Alberta opens to reveal its true inspiration 

Swooping steel meshes with glass and zinc reflecting the changing light of the day and seasons of the year – it is in fact nature that fed this unnatural creation, the Art Gallery of Alberta which opens this Sunday (31 Jan). The architect, Randall Stout of Randall Stout Architects, absorbed the majesty of the swirling forms of the Aurora Borealis so visible in Edmonton, Canada, and put pen to paper with dramatic effect. The urban grid layout of the city which sits comfortably aside the meandering Saskatchewan River furthered Stout’s vision as he drew square and curved components together in unity. For any doubters, let it be known – Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, was the true inspiration for Stout’s gallery.

The gallery was founded in 1924 with the aim of promoting the knowledge, enjoyment and cultivation of the fine arts and to preserve historical relics. In its almost 90 year history the gallery has proved so successful that its collection has ballooned to unmanageable proportions. An extension twenty years ago failed to successfully provide the necessary storage with outdated mechanics now deeming the facility redundant. While twelve years ago plans were put forward for a $12million renovation, they were rejected by Edmonton Art Gallery Board in favour of a new building which was thereafter sought to represent Alberta and the collections within the Art Gallery itself.

In line with modern expectations the new gallery brings not just additional gallery space but also a restaurant and a gallery shop. Combined with the renovation of the existing 150 seat theatre and expanded Art Education Centre, additional purpose is brought to the facility. The area of classroom and studio space is doubled in the expansion and rental space for functions is unique with options of the main floor atrium (with 26 m height), an outdoor sculpture court or the ‘floating’ private lounge.

Around 80% of the exhibition space is dedicated to temporary collections and so a neutral canvas is created within most of the interior volume to allow the art to express itself, with the exception of the atrium and stairways which continue the flowing expression from the elegant exterior.

The building stands as an icon of both its surroundings and its contents expressing this symbolism with a combination of reflective materials and an artificial ‘borealis’ white light installation which contrasts with the reflection of the dark night’s sky on the undulating stainless steel facade. A tribute to the natural beauty of Alberta.

Niki May Young
News Editor

Key Facts

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Randall Stout Architects

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