One of Bombay’s landmark art galleries required its existing premises to be renovated to include air-conditioning, humidity control, lighting and security systems to meet the standards necessary to accommodate international traveling exhibitions. The brief also required that the space (40m x 9m) be able to function as a single gallery or be divided into three or four spaces so as to accommodate smaller exhibitions. The constraint was a single entry at one end.
The solution consisted of inserting three sets of screens in order to partition the space into smaller galleries, giving an artist the choice of renting areas between 70 sq.m (or 25 running metres of hanging space) to 330 sq.m (112 running metres) for a show.
The partitions are designed to rotate 360 degrees to offer a number of combinations of positions for display, as well as to consciously increase or decrease the levels of transparency within the gallery. However, at no point do the screens completely close off an area from the main entrance.
The portal frames, which give the space its profile, have been retained, as their rhythm helps define the individual bay, which serves as a module of space. The portals also support a space above the false ceiling, which serves as a service floor for electrical wiring and ducts. Of the eleven existing structural bays of the gallery, the last is used to house the 40 ton/ air-conditioning plant – the lost hanging space is compensated for by the additional surface that the partitions offered.