The coastal setting and vernacular of St Ives informed the design of the new building.
Our focus was to create as large a gallery volume as the site would allow. Entirely excavated into the hillside, the new gallery extends, in a continuous journey, the existing gallery sequence.
Six large light chambers capture St Ives’ particular light, which is diffused through 1.5 metre-deep beams into the gallery below. The chambers contain blackout blinds and gallery track lighting. The 5 metre-high gallery walls contain accessible conduit at their top edge. The new gallery is a single, column free, 500m2 volume, neutral in detail to allow for the varied practices of contemporary art, with the ability to be configured into multiple arrangements of six smaller galleries as required.
Above the gallery the roof has been designed as a public space in its own right—a continuation of the landscape of the Cornish coast— with rocky outcrops amid abundant Cornish wildflowers.The only visible building contains art handling and staff support for both old and new galleries. It is clad in shiplappedglazed ceramic tiles which echo the sea and the sky.