- Year : 2008
Manufacturers : Hunter Douglas, Orlando Gatica
- Client : Inmobiliaria de Inversiones Cerro Sombrero
- Construction : Constructora Marchetti Ltda.
- Structures : Luis Soler P. y asociados
- Landscape : Savannah Diseño & Paisajismo
- Lighting : Maria Ignacia Risopatrón
- Electrical : Concha y Gana
- HVAC : Cintec Ltda. (Joaquín Reyes)
- Plumbing : PVT (Kenneth Page)
- Acoustical : Acustika Ltda. (Julio Figueroa)
- Acknowledgments : Alejandra Cruz de Galería Patricia Ready, Luis Izquierdo y Felipe Correa, de Izquierdo Lehmann Arquitectos.
- Model : German Timm
- Superficie Terreno : 2240m2
- Project Architect : Luis Izquierdo, Antonia Lehmann, Mauricio Leniz y Mirene Elton
- City : Santiago
- Country : Chile
The building is located on a plot of 2.240m2, on the north-west corner of the intersection at Espoz and Narciso Goycolea streets. It has a large access courtyard on the corner to exhibit sculptures, and a reception, a café, a main showroom, plus a small room dedicated to exhibit art of a smaller format. All of these areas are laid out around the main courtyard, bound at its north and east sides with a sliding window, to form a continuous, open public space. The building also contains an auditorium with capacity for 99 seats, with a screening room and translation area, located in the basement under the smaller exhibition room, which is raised above the main floor, the kitchen is behind the cafe; and further to the interior of the plot, a sales room and archive, secretary and offices, open to a longitudinal courtyard generated by the required setback from the eastern boundary of the site. There is also a basement floor for storage rooms and parking for 26 cars.
In the exhibition rooms, we designed a translucent glass ceiling and a technical level for lighting equipment according to the different criteria of exhibitions. This ceiling, a light diffuser, is suspended from a metal roof structure without intermediate support pillars, with beams forming crosslinked "sheds" open to the south, to allow the passage of natural light but not sunlight. The assemblage of ceiling and roof form a large lamp that lights the exhibition rooms combining natural light with a variety of artificial light sources (dimmable fluorescent lamps with different color temperature tubes for a diffuse light base, and halogen adjustable spotlights for concentrated light on the works). This assemblage of ceiling and roof also features hidden facilities and HVAC ducts, smoke detectors, surveillance cameras, etc. The HVAC system is through continuous floor grates at the base of the windows. In general, we sought to remove from view all the items that could interfere with the view of the works displayed. The building has reinforced concrete walls and post-tensioned concrete slabs.
The concrete was left exposed, with a smooth finish resulting from plywood formwork with a phenolic coating, except the walls of the galleries, which were clad inside with a double layer of painted plywood, to be able to hang paintings freely. This cladding supporting the hanging works can be drilled, covered, and repainted at will for mounting exhibitions. Plywood boards cover the thermal insulation layer required in all enclosing concrete walls, and also the HVAC ducts on the west facade of the building, communicating the ducts in the ceiling with mechanical ventilators in the basement.
The main room is 12.1 m wide by 24.8 m long and 5.1 m high. Its proportion and size allow for the exhibition of large format paintings and sculptures, with suitable distances for contemplation and spacing of a set of independent works. The elongated rectangular proportion of its plan allows a maximum perimeter to display paintings in relation to its area, within the range of a minimum width and a maximum length such that the room is perceived as a spatial unit graspable from any viewpoint. One of the long sides of this parallelepiped space faces the courtyard, with floor to ceiling windows with laminated glass panes, their maximum size of 510 cms matches the full height of the room.
Along the entire side of the windows, we placed a partition wall 3.1 m away from them, raised above the floor, with two steel supports, which controls glare and softens the lighting contrast produced in the room by the big opening to the courtyard. It also defines the spatial boundary of the courtyard inside rather than on the plane of the glass facade, so the perception of the exterior courtyard overlaps with the interior space of the room. The suspension of this partition allows airflow near the ground, from the base of the windows towards the central area of the room.
The exposed concrete slab on the cafeteria was perforated in a grid matching the distribution of the structural reinforcement mesh, in order to allow the transfer of sound waves absorbed by mats placed on top, so as to mitigate the reverberation and noise in the room. All public reception areas, indoor as well as outdoor, are paved with travertine marble cut against the grain, placed on plates in a grid 80 x 80 cms, which is the regulatory module of the plan. The ground level is the same in the largest courtyard and adjacent indoor enclosures. To design the rainwater runoff in the courtyard keeping a single horizontal ground level, we left 8 mm openings at the junctures of the marble plates, through which water drains into a network of channels under the floor. Since this courtyard, which is above the underground floor, must support large point loads from the weight of the sculptures, a reinforced post-tensioned slab 4 cm thick was required for the marble pavement plates.
The auditorium, partially underground, is for conferences, film viewings, video or chamber music, acoustically fitted with absorbent and reflective surfaces distributed under wooden lattices that cover the ceiling and side walls homogeneously, hiding sound equipment, smoke detectors, sprinklers, security sensors, etc. The air conditioning system was designed with a chamber under the floor slab, with ventilation ducts distributed under the seats. The back wall was painted white to serve as a projection screen. To the side of the stage there is a window communicating with an interior courtyard, which provides natural light laterally on the faces of exhibitors, actors or musicians, and also serves as an emergency exit. A generic requirement for this project was to remove all attached devices that could be distracting or interfere with the exhibits from the bearing surfaces (walls and floors), which in a case like this, that needs much lighting equipment, air conditioning, security, sound, etc, is a particularly difficult requirement.
Another generic requirement for the surfaces bearing paintings and sculptures was the orthogonal layout of walls and the horizontality of floors, implicit spatial conditions in the composition of these projects. Consequently, the plan and elevations of the exhibition rooms in this project are orthogonal. The selective cutting that the frame of the painting and the pedestal of the sculpture produces in the visual plane, separating the work from the space it inhabits to compose its own order with a heightened sense, has been the fundamental resource to establish it as an object of art. From the critical questioning of this consecrating resource operated by modernism in art history in the early twentieth century, with the abandonment of perspective representation in painting and the integration of the pedestal into the sculptural object, the exhibition space, ie the architectural enclosure, takes the role of enhancing and insulating the artwork, roles which were previously reserved for the frame and pedestal. From this emerged an art gallery typology that can be characterized under the name of White Cube: a closed, neutral, interior void, where the work is suspended in another metaphysical plane, beyond the prosaic reality of the external world, and everything exhibited inside gains a re-empowered sense. Thus, the new artistic genre of art installations, culminating this conventional reformulation of the relationship between an artwork and the place where it is exhibited, it is a tributary of this architectural typology. In this project we have taken a step further by opening the White Cube: the rooms open onto a courtyard, and the courtyard opens onto the city, integrated as a haven of tranquility. This is based on the hope that the works of art hold their meaning not only in the artifice that highlights and encapsulates them. We wanted to give art the space of silence suitable for its contemplation, but open to the city . Finding the right balance between this silence and this opening has been the architectural challenge that has shaped this project.
Luis Izquierdo W.
Exposed concrete in walls and ceilings, painted board siding in main exhibition room and graphics and photography room, travertine marble flooring in main exhibition room, graphics and photography room, sculpture courtyard, reception, and shop, hardwood flooring in offices and showroom, metal structure for technical floor on ceiling above main exhibition room and graphics and photography room, wooden slats acoustic cladding on auditorium walls and ceiling.