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Art, Architecture and Culture: World Overview 2015

Posted by
on December 14, 2015 at 01:44 PM

Continuing with taking stock of additions to the built environment in this year 2015, we move on to the realm of structures built purely to engage the finer senses of humankind. Art, as it has been treated through the centuries, has two equally fascinating facets. One is of the extremely gifted select few whose art can but be put on a pedestal by the rest of us and admired for posterity. The other kind of art is the one that lives in each of us, waiting to express itself at every interaction, occasion or celebration. Both forms of art need the opportunity of expression, the space for creation and exhibition, to find patrons and reciprocations. We take a close look at the architecture of notable art and culture venues built this year.

© Courtesy of internet resources

HOME Art Centre, Manchester, UK (images 1 - 5)

Dutch firm Mecanoo has designed this impactful yet warm and inviting building located on First Street, Manchester for the organisation formed by the merger between the famous Cornerhouse and Library Theatre Company. The facility includes two theatre halls, five cinema halls, practice and dressing rooms, educational, work and expedition spaces, restaurant, café and a public square. Triangular in plan and connecting First Street with the city centre, this building spontaneously becomes the city’s cultural hub, enabling the commissioning, production and presentation of projects in various art genres.

Fitted with full-length slender iridescent glass fins spaced unevenly on the façade, it opens out through these fins at places where public spaces are positioned, creating a lively, warm yet corporate look-and-feel that seems to link past and future. The interior area sports a warm living-room feel with café, restaurant, show venues and public spaces integrated around a wide stairwell at different levels, making it an interactive space that invites people to use it instead of the elevators. The theatre interiors are the most heart-warming, with colourful seats setting off against the dark interior and a proscenium style arrangement that integrates the audience with the performers.

Museum of Goa (images 6 - 10)

Goa, the lovable, multi-cultural tourist haven on India’s western coast, has historically produced a veritable procession of illustrious internationally acclaimed artists like Trindade, Gaitonde, Souza and Pai to name a few. But, the art and culture scene in Goa has done little to encourage or highlight this indigenous talent, forcing them all to move out of Goa for their artistic pursuits. Furthermore, the museums and art shows taking place engage only the elite few, leaving out the masses from the art scene. Artist Subodh Kerkar, like a one man army with a mission, reportedly set about rectifying this defect by setting up a wholly privately funded art experience zone named the Museum of Goa.

The Museum of Goa, abbreviating as MoG which means ‘love’ in the local Konkani, has been envisioned by Kerkar as, not just a display gallery, but a laboratory of art for artists and the public alike to share their love of art. Designed by renowned architect Dean D’Cruz, the MoG’s 1500 sq ft of area is spread out over three floors and a garden, located in the stark surrounds of an industrial estate on the Pilerne plateau. Constituting state-of-the-art facilities such as huge, well-lit display galleries, art studios, galleries, art store, art café and auditorium where the plan is to have displays, workshops, lectures, conversations, residencies, art courses, music recitals, jazz and rock shows and the works, MoG aims to be the platform where different art forms like painting, sculpture, photography, music, films, theatre and others will interact constantly to .create a vibrant art scene. The display area also spills out into a sprawling garden meant for outdoor sculptures, while the contemporary-styled structure itself stands all clad in white inside-out as a blank canvas ready to receive and exhibit the interplay between artworks of different genres and geniuses. Kerkar wishes, as it is in many developed countries, to enable every school child to be able to experience contemporary art forms at this unique venue, which opened on November 6th with ‘Gopakapattanam’, an intrepid show of brilliant works by some of the younger artists of Goa themed around tracing the state’s multifaceted history.

A House for Essex (cover image, images 11 - 15)

The ‘Living Architecture’ series is an attempt at educating and enabling people to experience modern architecture by renting for short term holiday stays a house designed by a well-known architect. Chaired by Dickon Robinson and with Alaine de Botton as creative head responsible for the idea as well as for choosing the architects for the jobs, the team has built a series of such holiday homes around the U.K. of which A House for Essex was completed and opened this year. Sitting like a beautifully crafted toy house on a green pasture in the village of Wrabness in Essex, designed by one of U.K.’s foremost firms FAT Architecture and one of its most critically acclaimed artists, Grayson Perry.

A House for Essex is designed in the essence of a pilgrimage to a wayside Chapel in the region. Despite being deeply modern in idiom and interpretation, The House acknowledges the local agricultural countryside flavour of Essex through its pitched roof, finished in shining copper, and the glistening green and white ceramic tiles that clad its entire exterior. The exterior plays out as a telescopic series of gabled roofed cuboidal volumes, increasing in size as the slope below them lowers. The northern smallest volume is treated most informally while the level of formality progresses as you enter and pass through, with the final double height living room and its southern entrance being the most formal. The interiors, adorned with Perry’s artworks such as huge tapestries depicting scenes from the life of Lucy, a fictional local village woman, ceramic pots, rugs, life size statues and even a suspended Honda bike, are finished in a collage of materials like handcrafted tiles, wood panelling and bright coloured paints. The two bedrooms upstairs offer beautiful views of the rolling fields around and have interior balconies overlooking the living room. The house, which is an artwork itself within which artworks are displayed, is rented out for short stays to holidaying tourists through the process of a ballot.

To wrap it up, it seems like significant architectural efforts have been made in 2015 to reach out and bring art and people closer and to gear up the process of experiential interaction in the world of art.

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