New Art Gallery Walsall
Walsall, United Kingdom 1995–2000
Client: Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council RIBA Stirling Prize finalist
This commission was won in an open international competition organised by the Borough Council of Walsall. The New Art Gallery is the home of the Garman Ryan Collection, an impressive and intimate collection of paintings, sculpture and objects assembled by Kathleen Garman and Sally Ryan, and given to the town in 1973. The display of the collection forms the core of the hugely energetic artistic and educational programme for the building. The new gallery was the first major public building to be built in Walsall for many years, in a region which generally had seen very little public investment.
The client conceived of the building as a model of quality and good practice, which could act as a central figure within the town, around which the future regeneration of the former industrial area to the east of the town centre, along the canal, could evolve.
The gallery stands at the end of the town High Street, on the site of a former industrial wharf. The building is arranged as a tower, giving it a prominence and force of character that refers to the austere and tough architecture of the warehouses and factories around the site. It contains galleries for temporary exhibitions and events, in addition to the galleries for the permanent collection and extensive education facilities. Windows in the gallery spaces give visitors impressive views back to the town and over the former industrial landscape around. The gallery has an unusually wide range of atmospheres for a public building, evoking the pleasurable generosity of a big house. The façades of the tower are clad in pale terracotta tiles, whose scale diminishes towards the top of the building. The tiles wrap and disguise the complex interior like bird feathers.
The project involved collaborations and contributions from the artists Catherine Yass and Richard Wentworth.
New Art Gallery Walsall, United Kingdom
11 February 2020
The occasion is marked by Party! an exhibition featuring an eclectic range of artists whose works are linked through broad reference to the party, a theme which extends across music, singing, dancing, greetings cards, food and drink, dress and decorations.
Walsall, United Kingdom
Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John
Laurie Hallows, Alun Jones
Martin Bradley, Adam Caruso, Rod Heyes, Andrés Martines, Peter St John, Silvia Ullmayer
Richard Wentworth, Catherine Yass
Kinnear Landscape Architects
Arup Façade Engineering
David Bonnett Associates
Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd
Finalist, RIBA Stirling Prize
Civic Trust Award
Selected work, EU Mies van der Rohe Award