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  7. The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects

The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects

  • 01:00 - 10 March, 2011
The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects
The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects, © Ioana Marinescu
© Ioana Marinescu

© Ioana Marinescu © Ioana Marinescu © Ioana Marinescu © Ioana Marinescu +30

From the architect. To the southerner Stromness is located in the far north, a place more Scandinavian than Scots. To the Orcadian, Stromness lies on the threshold of a more imaginative North, where thoughts of Thule begin.

We view our work through the mirror of a northern modernism. We continue to be interested in the simple resolution of an architectural proposition. We search for stillness, lightness and clarity. A poet friend, Thomas A Clark, wrote that ‘’reticence is a kind of shade.’’ As fair-skinned northerners it is wise to seek out the shadows.

© Ioana Marinescu
© Ioana Marinescu

Stromness has a unique foreshore of stone piers that span the high and low watermarks along the northern shore of the Hamnavoe. The PAC occupies a strategic position within this stone fringe, adjacent to the point of arrival for Stromness and at the entry to an extraordinary stone city.

© Ioana Marinescu
© Ioana Marinescu

The PAC is home to an internationally acclaimed collection of contemporary art. The PAC is a collaboration of permanent collection and temporary galleries. The project involved the refurbishment of historic pier buildings, along with the creation of a new gallery building.

The building consists of three distinct elements: a building that is part of Victoria Street and two parallel buildings that extend from the street towards the sea. The street building contains entry, administration and library along with an artist’s studio. The original pier building contains the collection while the new building contains temporary gallery space along with service areas and in its attic, the collection archive.

The new building adopts a simple pitched roof recalling a traditional waterfront warehouse. The building is clad in the black vestment of a dignified and valued elder. This signifies its cultural significance yet it also has a quality that is ambivalent and melancholic. Its familiarity however is transformed and undermined through a façade that shifts from solid to void; black zinc ribs alternate with translucent glass infills.

© Ioana Marinescu
© Ioana Marinescu

Ragna Robertsdottir, an Icelandic artist who creates veils of volcanic particles, clarified the idea for a façade that shifts as the viewer moves. The glazed façade describes the linear circulation that connects all three buildings. The spacing of the ribs echoes the original gallery’s rafters. When seen gable-on the new building appears solid but dissolves as the viewer moves, allowing the original pier building to gain prominence. The building is grounded in its location yet through a lightness of touch escapes the Medusa effect of the prevalent stone culture.

© Ioana Marinescu
© Ioana Marinescu

The Victoria Street building is seen as the antithesis of the black house, all is white. Again this expression is familiar yet it has an uncanny air about it. The townscape of Stromness is dun coloured while the whiteness of the Pier Arts Centre hints at the spectre.

Internally the spaces are a backdrop to the art. Their surfaces are bleached or translucent. Within these muted spaces moments of clarity connect the viewer back to the northern landscape.

Beyond the technical the PAC is sustained by a fragile community and in turn sustains the culture of that community.

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects" 10 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/118010/the-pier-arts-centre-reiach-and-hall-architects/>
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26 Comments

Alexander Firth · June 01, 2012

The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/Br6Tpb6E via @archdaily Oooh. <3

Vaughan William Owen · May 29, 2012

http://t.co/TUsMUNyi via @archdaily - The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects - simple and beautiful - stunning #architecture

Elizabeth Fielder · January 12, 2012

The Pier Arts Centre / Reiach and Hall Architects | ArchDaily (love it) http://t.co/oKOQhEvG via @archdaily

H. Roark · March 24, 2011

Having been one of the perhaps lucky few who have seen this building in the flesh, it is fantastic.

James · March 13, 2011

A pine interior? Haven't people learned from the 90s?

The Orcadian · March 12, 2011

RT @theAHSS: Pier Arts Centre, Stomness, Orkney features on @ArchDaily http://bit.ly/hLgtma #architecture #heritage #reuse

Axel · March 12, 2011

This is great! It's actually a place for art, not an object which primary purpose is to draw attention from architects and wallpaper magazine.

Yssel & Son's · March 12, 2011

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from the den · March 11, 2011

Beautiful - by Edinburgh&#39s Reiach & Hall Architects RT @theAHSS: Pier Arts Centre, Orkney features on @ArchDaily http://bit.ly/hLgtma

AHSS · March 11, 2011

Pier Arts Centre, Stomness, Orkney features on @ArchDaily http://bit.ly/hLgtma #architecture #heritage #reuse

buijsenpennock · March 11, 2011

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h.a. · March 11, 2011

sorry, orkney is part of scotland and not england. The project is fantastic though!

up_today_arch · March 11, 2011

very sophisticated... I like the look of the roof above the surrounding.... it is stunning...

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