Adaptive Reuse of Buildings for Visual Arts Centres

The visual arts have manifested themselves in the artistic world in many expressions. These include: ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts,

photography, film-making and architecture. Many artistic disciplines like performing arts, conceptual arts and even textile arts, involve various aspects of the visual arts. This is because we experience our world, in its various forms, through our senses - with sight being the most paramount.

Architecture, considered to be the patron of the arts, borrows heavily from the visual arts. Organising principles such as symmetry, balance, harmony, rhythm, datum were long being experimented on in the visual arts way before their application in architecture. And whilst museums and art galleries have for a long term served in the propagation of the visual arts, a new functional typology has arisen - the visual art centre.

A museum is an institution that cares for a collection of artefacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical or scientific importance. An art gallery on the other hand, is a building or a space that is utilised for exhibitions of a particular nature, typically temporary ones.

A visual art centre is distinct from the museum and art gallery. It is a functional community centre for artists and art enthusiasts with a focus on encouraging the practice and appreciation of art within a given locality. It does so by providing facilities such as gallery space and display areas, meeting spaces, studios for artists, educational facilities (like resource centres) and workshops with a range of technical equipment.

Visual art centres have developed worldwide to bridge the gap between the exhibition functions of a museum or art gallery and the research, education and collaboration that goes into the production of the various expressions of the visual arts. This study seeks to understand, from an architectural perspective, the various challenges faced by artists and art enthusiasts, by studying the adaptive re-use buildings that they use.

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