How to Build a Great Gallery
May 23 2017
By Francisco Alvarez
Dorene & Peter Milligan Executive Director, OCAD U Galleries
OCAD University is building a brand new state-of-the-art flagship professional gallery in a residential building at 199 Richmond Street West. Opening to the public in the fall of 2017, the new 8,000 square-foot Onsite Gallery will be an experimental curatorial platform for art, design and new media, serving the University and the general public, with the goal of fostering social and cultural transformations.
Below is a floor plan of the new Onsite Gallery. Along the top is Richmond Street West and the compass direction of North. One enters from Richmond Street through a glassed-in vestibule to enter the main exhibition hall. Towards the East, or right side of this floor plan, are a new open storage Collections Room to house our Permanent Collection of art and design, the Media Lounge, and the Gallery offices and meeting room. The main exhibition hall opens towards the South and West, including an area in the centre that can be closed off for special projects. The numbers on the floor plan mark the positions from which the architectural renderings and photographs below are taken. Swipe your mouse across the image to see a “before and after” perspective from each of the six vantage points.
Onsite Gallery Floor Plan
There has been a lot progress on plastering the reinforced hanging walls throughout the gallery. Much of the ductwork and pipes in the ceiling have been cleaned up in preparation for the additional stretched fabric membrane ceiling. This will provide additional protection from potential leaks from the condo units directly above the gallery.
This is the view upon entering the gallery from the glass vestibule (not yet installed). The east side of the gallery has been cleared of materials and equipment to prepare the cement floor for resurfacing.
Looking north to the main entrance, we see all the equipment that was previously at the east side of the gallery.
From the southwest corner of the gallery.
Looking toward the media lounge, you can see that the new floor has been poured. This is a coloured resin mixed with concrete, which provides a much deeper and even colour throughout. The next step will be to polish it to a semi-gloss finish. Then it will be covered up again to allow workers to install the overhead steel beams, lighting tracks and fabric ceiling without causing damage to the floor surface.
From the media lounge, looking into the collections storage room. A twenty-foot long glass display case will be built across this area starting from the large cement pillar on the left. The case will house rotating exhibits from the permanent collection, allowing visitors to see the storage racks and work area behind.
Here, I’m standing in the collections storage room, looking across at the collections work area, where the collection will be prepared and studied.
The two images below show our meeting room and office area.
Meeting Room & Office
One of the most dramatic recent developments was the installation of this wide blackened steel ceiling pan, which will carry much of the wiring across the gallery, but also serve to drain off any liquids should the ever be a leak in the overhead pipes. The stretched fabric ceiling membrane will be installed later.
The art in the gallery will be very safe indeed.
We worked with Dean Martin Design to create a new visual identity for Onsite Gallery. We’re very proud to unveil it on our new vinyl on both sides of Richmond St. W. Best of all: we have a confirmed opening date! Join us on Saturday, September 16, 2017 as we open the new Onsite Gallery with a public street celebration and ribbon-cutting. More details are coming soon.
May 23, 2017
Architectural renderings provided by Baird Sampson Neuert Architects