The brief called for a temporary spatial intervention to be erected in the unused courtyard of the National Gallery, located in the historically rich Company Gardens in Cape Town. The space should be a platform for viewing the city's architecture or at least viewing exhibitions of the city's architecture, as well as being an exhibition of architectural form and language in itself. The Gallery appears as a grand neo-classical building in the symmetrical plan of the gardens.
There exists at least two ways of creating space; the framing of space by means of setting up relationships between planar elements or separate masses; and the whittling away of mass to create spatial relationships within. The juxtaposition made evident in the exhibition space speaks to the dialogue between these two ways of creating space. On one hand the structure itself is hidden by the cladding - creating the sense that one is confined within a mass-type space construct - and on the other hand the structure is made apparent. Where the structure is celebrated -when viewed from afar or through certain frames - it announces its creation of space by means of setting up relationships between planes, that is, the cladding.
The layering of plywood in cross-section allows the viewer to dig into layers of architectural language as they move up or down through the void space, much like an archaeological dig.
Key views of the city are framed to link the architectural language of the structure to that of the city below. The ply and framing directs the viewers gaze and creates a finished interior quality suited to that of a temporary, yet sophisticated gallery space.
The temporary exhibition space rises up out of the courtyard of the South African National Gallery - a largely under-utilised space located in the centre of an axial and symmetrical plan. The space-frame structure, composed of cross-laminated plywood and glass,is clad on the interior in a 30mm thick layering of ply. This sets up a dialogue between interior and exterior space. From outside, the structure presents its temporary nature and appears as some form of scaffolding, yet the interior feels finished and far more permanent because of the cladding.
This structure presents an architectural journey that introduces these dialogues by setting up a juxtaposition through construction. As the viewer moves up the elevator shaft, layers of architectural language are revealed. As one moves through the layers and digs deeper, one experiences architectural space through the apparent contrast between the tactile and finished quality of the interior and the temporary skeletal space-frame that supports the ground beneath one’s feet.
The aim of the structure is to introduce a way of engaging with architectural language by means of showcasing a fundamental design decision. The desire is that viewers will become aware of their spatial surroundings by being within intimate spaces that appear permanent, yet are evidently supported by temporary scaffolding. The cladding has been stripped away in key places - and replaced with glass floors and walls that allow one to appreciate the space-frame structure. In other places, space has been left open to the elements and views of the city, with the intention that the language of the structure will begin to be discussed in terms of the city's buildings.