Sited next to the Grand River in Cambridge, Ontario, this project is for a gallery to house the Canadian entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale, as well as other exhibitions. The design was considered in terms of tensions between interior and exterior and subtly recalls local vernacular types such as mills and barns. The building form is intended to be as compact as possible, with the cladding and skin conceived as a tautly-fitting diaphragm through which specific cuts and perforations are made to indicate areas of importance.
The project handles sustainability through several principles, including keeping the building envelope as integral as possible; use of renewable, local and durable materials; appropriate technology to reduce energy usage and waste; passive methods to heat, cool, and ventilate in non-sensitive (i.e. gallery) areas; and compact massing, which helps to reduce heat loss and gain.
The interior configuration dissolves the compactness perceived from the exterior into connected gallery spaces that flow into one another and offer flexibility of use. Likewise, the ground-floor restaurant and retail areas connect physically and visually with the foyer, with links to exterior public spaces and the city beyond.