The new mk Gallery will open on 16 March. The new building will include gallery spaces, an auditorium for film, performance and talks, education facilities, a café and bar and incorporates City Club, a major commission by artists Gareth Jones and Nils Norman through the public space within and around the building.
Milton Keynes is a utopian urban project of the late 1960s. LA and the Garden City are woven together into a carpet grid laid over the rolling Buckinghamshire landscape. The new building for MK Gallery in Milton Keynes is located at the top end of Midsummer Boulevard where the city meets Campbell Park, establishing the centre of a new arts quarter.
A new wing consisting of a simple rectangular form wrapped in corrugated stainless steel recalls the rigorous grid that underpins the city, once a playground for British modernists and the early pioneers of High-Tech. Its polished facade shifts ambiguously between reflection and opacity, while a circular window frames views over the orbital landforms and belvedere of Campbell Park. The city grid is suggested the walls and the landscape in the window. The gridded rectangle houses an assembly of new gallery spaces and an education studio below an auditorium. The axial arrangement of galleries, with windows aligned on either end, recalls the layout of the city.
City Club, a new public art project led by Gareth Jones and Nils Norman, moves in and around the gallery building, quoting and updating the design history of Milton Keynes. In the 1970s, City Club was a plan for a visionary leisure complex inspired by the mixed-use Real Madrid Club Complex in Spain. In the 21st century, it becomes a sequence of new public spaces spanning art, architecture and design.
Client: MK Gallery
Project Manager: Jackson Coles
Structural Engineer: Momentum
Environmental Engineer: Max Fordham LLP
Quantity Surveyor: Gleeds
Landscape architects: jcla
Main contractor: Bowmer + Kirkland
Artists: Gareth Jones & Nils Norman