CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Exterior Photography, FacadeCO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, WindowsCO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Stairs, HandrailCO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior PhotographyCO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - More Images+ 20

  • Design Architect: Jan Kroman
  • Intern Architect: Dania Atassi
  • Project Designers: Robert Maggay, Teagan MacNeil
  • Contract Administration: Dan Letourneau
  • Artistic Director: Quarter's Art
  • Project Sponsor: City of Edmonton
  • Architecture Contractor: Delnor Construction
  • City: Edmonton
  • Country: Canada
More SpecsLess Specs
CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Adam Borman

Text description provided by the architects. Located in a currently underserved neighborhood, CO*LAB (Community Arts Laboratory) adapts a modest existing building into a critical piece of infrastructure for the local arts community. Faced with a limited budget, the design team worked through challenging existing conditions to meet the ambitious programmatic needs of the tenant, a not-for-profit arts group. Spaces created include a gallery, black box theatre, workshops, studios, and a café. An additional goal, outlined by the owner, was for the project to engage the street and the community in an authentic manner that current and future residents of the area would embrace.

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Exterior Photography, Facade
© Adam Borman

The design achieves these objectives through perforating the façade and connecting the activities of the local art incubator to the street and adjacent bike lane. A bold, graphic approach to color and illumination creates a strong yet genuine identity for the project. Inspired in part by CO*LAB’s annual lantern festival, the building embodies an energy that radiates outward onto the street. Large operable glazed doors inserted into the north façade create a visual link between the events and exhibits within the building and downtown while bringing diffuse light into the art gallery and multi-use space. The gallery space and main entry façade are recladded in glowing polycarbonate panels.

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Image 25 of 25

During the day, the differing materiality helps to break up the elevation, animating the streetscape. The facade is painted white to provide cohesion and allows for projected visual installations in the evening. Bright yellow on the exterior of the building draws attention to new design elements (signage, street furniture, doors, and metal cladding). In the interior, the all-yellow hallway elevates an otherwise generic corridor, between the gallery and black box theatre, creating a “palette cleanser” between the two experiences.

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Door, Facade, Windows
© Adam Borman
CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Windows, Beam
© Adam Borman

An additional set of garage doors was inserted into the south elevation of the multi-purpose space, immediately across from the set facing the avenue, axially connecting the street to the rear courtyard. This connection further encourages community-centric performances, inviting a large range of possibilities for arranging events of many scales and audiences. The corresponding street furniture, although permanently fixed, is arranged to look light and informal, beckoning crowds toward the garage door that connects to the multipurpose/theatre space. Working with the existing building proved to be the greatest design challenge. Alterations to the tender documentation were needed following the demolition phase, as a false floor was uncovered and removed.

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Door
© Adam Borman
CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Handrail
© Adam Borman
CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography
© Adam Borman

An ambitious project, given the limited footprint and tight budget, the facility opened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last two years, it has hosted several limited capacity events, yet its impact has proved significant. CO*LAB currently houses a successful pop-up café on a dedicated bike route, serves as a venue for weekly concerts coinciding with the farmer’s market, and holds virtual art programming. The space is anticipated to be a key venue for performances in the theatre space and home to an artist in residence program. CO*LAB augments the existing downtown fabric, adding a bold thread of glowing yellow.

CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects - Interior Photography, Bathroom, Column
© Adam Borman

Project gallery

See allShow less

Project location

Address:Edmonton, AB, Canada

Click to open map
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "CO*LAB Gallery / RPK Architects" 11 Aug 2022. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

You've started following your first account!

Did you know?

You'll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.