Shifting walls in Georgia gallery

22 Jun 2012

Olson Kundig to design The Bo Bartlett Center at Columbus State University

Olson Kundig Architects is designing The Bo Bartlett Center, an 18,425 sq ft gallery and learning center at the RiverPark Campus of Columbus State University in Georgia. Tom Kundig, FAIA, a principal and owner of the firm, is leading the design of the project.

Located on the second story of a former textile warehouse, the Center will include a grand lobby, a main gallery, ‘Bo's Brain’, a visitor's gallery, storage and archive space for Bartlett's work, and office and reception areas. Upon completion, the Center will serve as an experiential learning center and cultural hub for the visual arts while affording visitors a broad range of arts experiences offered within the University's arts district.

"The Center's design concept celebrates the simplicity of the warehouse space," says Tom Kundig. "With the exception of a few modifications including the removal of a portion of roof to make room for a large skylight, the project is a minimal insertion of pivoting and shifting walls intended to highlight art."

The addition of pivoting and shifting walls within the gallery spaces will enable artists and curators to convert the gallery spaces as needed to suit the scale and shape of the changing exhibits. In order to bring daylight into the mostly windowless space, a large skylight that runs the length of the building will be installed. Diffuser shades will move to adjust the amount of light entering the space.

A ‘box’ in the center of the gallery, dubbed ‘Bo's Brain’, will include an interactive research center where students and scholars can access Bartlett's archival materials, including sketch books, correspondence, journals, recordings, photographs, artistic notes, memorabilia, and objects d'art.

When finished, The Bo Bartlett Center will house and display more than 300 paintings and drawings by Bartlett. The visitor's gallery will feature work of visiting American artists who will also teach master classes at the Center. On occasion, the gallery will also exhibit pieces from CSU's Permanent Collection of more than 500 works of art and objects such as the Benno and Babette Rothschild New Guinea Collection.

The project is a collaboration between Columbus State University and the design team, which includes Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects and Columbus-based Hecht Burdeshaw Architects. Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olson Kundig Architects led the design through the conceptual design phase. Fundraising is currently underway.

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