Art Gallery of Ontario selects design team for museum expansion

Art Gallery of Ontario selects design team for museum expansion

View a night view of the Art Gallery of Ontario

(Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects, Two Row Architect, and Play-Time)

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is about to undergo its seventh expansion project. The Toronto Art Museum announced today that Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects and Two Row Architect have been selected to design a new addition to the gallery which will be called the Danny Rees Modern and Contemporary Gallery, following a generous gift from Danny Rees, President and CEO of winter clothing brand Canada Goose.

AGO was founded in 1900 and has undergone a number of expansions since then. The first changes were achieved during the first half of the twentieth century. Subsequent renovations in 1974 and 1977 were designed by John C. Parkin, and the 1993 effort was led by Barton Myers and KPMB Architects. However, the most notable expansion was designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 2008; A distinctive sculpted glass addition to the exterior and a spiral wooden staircase within the museum’s interiors.

(Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects, Two Row Architect, and Play-Time)

This latest expansion will rise five stories and add 40,000 square feet to the organization’s current size of 480,000 square feet. Over the past decade, the foundation’s collection has grown significantly, with the addition of more than 20,000 pieces. The expansion will allow the museum to display its growing collection of contemporary and modern artworks in no less than 13 new exhibition spaces that are designed to be flexible and will allow for improved circulation across the museum. This new campaign will increase the viable exhibition space by 30 percent.

“The mandate was to provide a flexible and robust space to showcase the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art,” said Annabelle Selldorf, principal of Selldorf Architects. that. “We found this to be a great opportunity to improve visitor circulation and create a more cohesive path through the museum. We did this by designing a space that connects to the existing galleries, north and west of the addition.

The architectural team of Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects and Two Row Architect was selected for the work through a competitive RFP process. Their selection was based on their experience, project portfolio, methodologies and understanding of the brief, as well as the proposed budget and timeline. After selection, the team began working on the proposed scheme.

The addition will be located on the site just east of the Gehry-designed building and above the existing loading dock. These existing gallery buildings provided the inspiration for the design of this latest addition, and the design draws from the form and materiality of the structures.

(Provided by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects, and Siffin Architects)

“The modern architecture surrounding Grange Park features prismatic forms of intense materiality,” said Donald Schmitt, principal of Diamond Schmitt Architects. that. “The modern and contemporary Danny Reese Gallery complements the context with an elemental form that will be covered in a natural material that reflects the sky, light and titanium blue of the Gehry building.”

The new gallery is targeting operational zero carbon certification, and this target will be taken into account in all design decisions. The design team said that At this stage, they are looking to make the addition a steel structure covered with a clay façade.

Given the museum’s location on Indigenous-owned land, the design team regularly consults with the Indigenous community and their leaders, an effort led by Indigenous-owned firm Two Row Architect. Through this consultation, three key Indigenous values ​​emerged and will be incorporated into the design: adaptability, biophilia, and kinship.

Brian Porter, principal at Two Row Architect, explained that How each of these values ​​will be reflected in the completed project will demonstrate adaptability in the exhibition spaces that will be envisioned as open, flexible spaces to host installations or community gatherings. Biophilia will make its way through direct views from inside the gallery towards nearby Grange Park. Finally, Kinship will direct the space to be “warm, inviting, comfortable, accessible and inclusive.”

(Provided by the Art Gallery of Ontario, Diamond Schmitt, Selldorf Architects, and Siffin Architects)

The project is currently undergoing a municipal and public review process. Construction on the expansion is expected to begin in 2024 and its cost is estimated at approximately $100 million.

“Working within the conditions of the existing building, we were able to create a building that allows for diverse and stunning exhibition spaces on five separate floors,” Selldorf added. “It was even more satisfying that with our colleagues at Diamond Schmitt and Two Row Architects, we all shared a fundamental aspiration about the human experience in terms of orientation, materiality and connection.”

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