Sunday, October 3, 2010

Glucksman Gallery

October 1
I was privileged enough to get the curator of the gallery to guide me on a special tour through this building.  In the B&B, the Garnish House, where I was staying across the street from the University of Cork, I met a German artist, Bettina Pousttchi, who's work was on display in one of the galleries.  So by association with her, I was able to contact Matt, the curator.  The building is elegant, yet unrefined, and nearly organic in its flow and plan.  The dramatic cantilever of the main floor creates a floating effect that the architects, John Tuomey and Sheila O'Donnell, likened to a Viking ship on stilts.  The structure harmonizes well with the surrounding site, and is unique in its low profile.  The finish of all of the exposed metals was either mill or galvanized, which was really cool. 

Another neat feature were the "Bendheim" glass modules that surrounded the stairwells and partly around the entrance.  The quality of the construction was outstanding.  Nearly perfect alignment of everything, including interior stone wall panels with the stair treads.  The Irish builders know exactly what they are doing!  The lower patio had a sliding door system that was huge, and in order for this to work, the slab must have been dead on level.  Not an easy feat when the building was constructed on a flood plain only a few feet from a creek.  The curator told me that a flood had damaged the first floor last November and was a point of issue with the university and the architect/builder.  I commented that the only alternative would have been to raise the building up even higher, so in a sense the fact that the galleries are elevated, protects them from the inevitable 20 year flood.  The curator said that this building will age gracefully as there is no "shine" to wear off.  I agree with this concept and the principles of design that make this a truly special building.

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