March 14, 2010

This weekend I took a road trip to Edmonton, and we spent Sunday afternoon at the new Art Gallery of Alberta. The gallery was founded in 1924, and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta, but recently commissioned a new building to be constructed to house the gallery's collection of over 6000 objects, and their exhibition space. The structure was designed by Randall Stout, an architect from Los Angeles that once worked with Frank Gehry, and only opened on January 31st of this year.

The entrance to the building is characterized by these large organic waves, finished in stainless steel panels, which intersect with patinaed zinc surfaces and high performance glazing. Stout was inspired by the strict grid formation of the downtown core, and the river valley that winds through the centre of the city, and juxtaposed the two forms in creating the architecture of the space. The exterior finishes were selected to reflected the extreme weather patterns of the area, which enables the building to transform as the weather does. The art gallery also utilizes many sustainable design strategies, including using recyclable materials, natural lighting considerations, and efficient mechanical systems.

The gallery is an incredible addition to the culture of our province. This new space means that the AGA will be able to host higher profile exhibitions, which previously would have overlooked Alberta. The really exciting thing was how busy the gallery was, which indicates the enthusiasm the community has for the arts, and how this new space will continue to expose so many more people to art. You can find their current exhibits here, and I encourage you to check it out soon!


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