Civic Trust Awards
Level of Award
Local Authority Area
Information about this scheme
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 is within the walls and the landscape in the window.
The gridded rectangle houses a simple 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.
The expanded gallery includes a suite of five interlinking galleries, a learning studio, auditorium, café and shop. The landscaping project has enhanced the external environment creating further community social spaces including a garden, playscape and café terrace. Gallery spaces now meet the environmental and security standards required to borrow works from major national and international collections, enabling them to significantly increase the ambition of their programme and bring world class exhibitions to Milton Keynes.
The new MK Gallery has been designed and is programmed for a universal audience following extensive consultation with the gallery’s access steering group and access consultant.
Approved Building Control Inspector
MLM Building Control
Gareth Jones and Nils Norman
B&K Building Services
Primary Use Class
Class D1d - Display of Works of Art