MK Gallery

The Brief

The expansion of MK Gallery sought to respond to its urban context and the wider organizational and architectural principles of Central Milton Keynes, whilst establishing a new visual connection to adjoining Campbell Park.

The project’s aim was to create new opportunities for the gallery’s curatorial and educational programmes, but to do so in a sustainable way. A conscious decision to re-use as much as possible and to minimize any unnecessary intervention and wastage was at the heart of the design process, which resulted in the retention of the existing galleries, its proportions, primary steelwork and slabs. Any capital investments in retrofitted elements such as new windows, doors and roof coverings were done so as to improve the overall energy performance of the building.

Client

MK Gallery

Location

Milton Keynes

Architect

6a Architects

Size

20,000 ft²

Sector

  • Arts
  • Culture

Services

  • Project Management
  • Health & Safety (CDM)

The Challenge

As a high-profile and highly anticipated project for Milton Keynes and the wider local community, stakeholder management was a major part of our role as project manager for the project. Strategic partners including Milton Keynes Council and Arts Council England, who both provided significant funding for the project, were regularly appraised of progress during both the design and construction stages.

Regular consultations were held to engage with and involve other local influencers such MK Theatre, CMK Alliance (representing residents and businesses in Milton Keynes) and local artistes and schools. The art content of the public realm areas (City Club) surrounding the building were designed by Gareth Jones, a local artist in collaboration with Nils Norman whose work spans across the disciplines of public art and urban planning.

The Outcome

The completed project saw the 2 existing gallery buildings retained and refurbished to accommodate a new bookshop, entrance and café. A new rectangular building was added to the north-east, providing 2 new double height gallery spaces, an education space, workshop and a multi-purpose auditorium designed to constantly adapt to the gallery’s diverse programmatic ambitions.

MK Gallery has received numerous industry accolades including a RIBA National Award 2021. The judges stated that:

‘This is a challenging project that has been beautifully crafted. A high level of research, interrogation, collaboration and consultation from an enthusiastic team has delivered a building and facility that remains true to the ethos of the original masterplan and aesthetic.’

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Galleries
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Skyroom auditorium capacity
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Length of programme
“The shiny new MK Gallery, poised between the rural and the urban, the past, the pastoral and the future, between high technology and low-rise suburbia, embodies something of that original idealism and the sophistication of an architecture that now seems almost impossibly distant. It is a shimmering latter-day reflection of a mighty ambition."
Edwin Heathcote
The Financial Times

Other Projects We’ve Completed Include

BAFTA

Newport Street Gallery

Hauser & Wirth Somerset