Modern Art Oxford’s brief to promote access to and use of the Gallery was met by dRMM with the transformation of an existing delivery yard into a new type of gallery space for the UK, a ‘storefront gallery’ venue. The new 5x15x5m ramped lobby is positioned as an installation work; not permanent, plastered or white, but carefully constructed from massive engineered timber and polycarbonate panels. Artists will in turn react to and transform this entry space with an ongoing programme of exhibits.The Yard provides a new entrance and overall image for the museum on a more active street frontage, with direct level access, in central Oxford. Streetscape improvements are envisioned with the scheme as catalyst. The Yard is intended to address the pedestrian or cyclist; shoppers and tourists are as welcome as students and regular gallery-goers. The deliberate omission of façade connects the gallery directly with the Oxford streetscape by day. At night, a specially painted and perforated roller shutter invites the passer to view interior and exterior as a simultaneous artwork.dRMM designed the Yard from an idea by former MAO Director Michael Stanley, and coordinated contributing design input of structural engineer, catering consultant and specialist LED lighting manufacturer. With contributing artwork for bar, furniture and shutter by Richard Woods, MAO and dRMM present gallery architecture as ‘useful art’.
Photography © Alex de Rijke, Satoshi Isono