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Conical Art Gallery Conversion, Fitzroy

An artist run gallery space with a ‘rustic’ room to the front placed in deliberate opposition to the ‘white’ room to the rear.

  • Client Brief

    This was a collaborative project with the Adrien Allen to bring to life a space suitable for the presentation of art in a venue run by the artists themselves. With this came a brief to ‘spend little – engage broadly’ with the existing interior – the first floor level of a Victorian corner site in Fitzroy.

    Design Response

    Because the project also involved the proper upgrade of the service areas at one end of the space, the gallery zone is, by contrast, deliberately steeped in the formal/spatial, and material remnants of the interior in its ‘found’ state. The interior is actually two spatial domains sharing a single volume. One is the rustic internal shell of the original corner building with its structurally exposed double-hipped ceiling, disused fireplace and flaking green painted walls. The other is a more recent (1930s) hard-plastered space with a contrastingly low ceiling, and painted entirely white to evoke the ‘expected tactic’ of the contemporary art gallery interior.

    The movement of space within and between these respective volumes is mediated and, at times, suspended by the presence of window openings to the east and north bounding walls. This was achieved by leaving the window assemblies intact, and only refurbishing each window with either transparent or obscured glass. This meant that views to the outside through the transparent sections could be used as a means of stationing one’s self within the space, whilst at all other moments being able to experience the necessary containment of the art space through the majority-use of obscured glazing.

    In essence there was a ‘long life – loose fit’ approach resulting from the purposeful negotiation between artist and architect to maintain (rather than build) a suitable gallery venue. Notwithstanding these negotiations there remained a need to preserve a sense of intent through the comparisons able to be made between the respective gallery domains, each with their inherent phenomenal attributes.

  • Design Specifications

    Services Provided

    • Full Services

    Architect and Artist

    Workshop Architecture and Adrien Allen


    Project Team: Stephen Staughton, Adrien Allen, James Staughton
    Photography: Shannon McGrath & Workshop Architecture


    Conical Art Gallery

    Date completed



    Fitzroy, Victoria

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