Winners 2008

Newlyn Art Gallery

Newlyn Art Gallery

Copyright: Alan Williams

This is a beautiful building. The jury were completely seduced.

Approaching the building from the road the listed Victorian building is seemingly unchanged. As you get closer the new slate clad addition hovers in the air behind the Victorian building with a clear uninterrupted view under it, through the fully glazed (glass to glass corner) entrance, out towards the shimmering sea. The slate clad extension sits on an exposed concrete table where the structure is clear and evident from below. Beautiful clean circular air ducts have been cast into the concrete table, all that is visible are pure circular voids disappearing into shadow, no grills, no louvers. The existing stair has been cleverly updated by way of a steel box slipped over the existing stair handrail and balustrade to create a clean stair, which conforms to the new regulations.

Upstairs, the existing Victorian art gallery has been carefully and respectfully restored. The greatest treat is to catch a glimpse of the view from the new extension through the fully glazed link between the new and the old.

From the new 'building in the air' is a magnificent, wide view of the sea framed by a single long window and above is a long narrow slot to the sky. The sharp beams of light, shadows cast and breathtaking view from these two long narrow windows all contribute to make this an entrancing space.

The detailing is sophisticated, calm and simple, the finishes and furniture pleasing and settled. The ingenius use of the vernacular (diminishing coursing of slate towards ridge), wrapping of slate around roof, gable and walls using the local technique of wet laid Cornish slate all contribute to the overall traditional but contemporary feel. This building is a jewel.


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