MK Gallery extension opens in Milton Keynes

22 March 2019
  • Iwan Baan
  • Iwan Baan
  • Iwan Baan
  • Johan Dehlin
  • 6a
  • RIBA Collections
  • Johan Dehlin

6a Architects


Milton Keynes

United Kingdom

6a Architects complete stainless steel arts centre

The new MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, designed by 6a architects, has opened to the public. The development has more than doubled the size of the gallery by adding a bright, reflective new structure to the original building, which was constructed in the late 1990s and remains on site. The entire complex now provides 500 sq m of exhibition space, together with a large learning and community studio.

The polished stainless-steel exterior surfaces were inspired by the city’s original grid and the geometries of the adjacent Campbell Park. A new entrance boasts a colour scheme that revives the original sandstone and terracotta facade of 1999 with additional iconic signs, including a large red neon heart which references the first ever logotype for Milton Keynes.

In collaboration with the architects and graphic designer Mark El-khatib, artists Gareth Jones and Nils Norman were commissioned to create City Club, a sequence of new public spaces. Inside, these include the foyer, café/bar and the Sky Room, a flexible auditorium on the upper floor with views over the Campbell Park and surrounding countryside. Outside, they include a playscape, a garden and the updated façade to the original gallery. 

These public spaces are central to the aims of the development, which will house an eclectic mix of major exhibitions, films, music, performance, family events and workshops. Anthony Spira, MK Gallery director, stated: “Our ambition has been to create a building where the art centre and the social spaces come together in what we believe is a rare example of collective authorship across disciplines, where art, architecture and design are interchangeable. In doing so, we are proposing a new kind of accessible art centre, which pays tribute to and tells the story of Milton Keynes, fully engaged with playful ways of seeing and definitively open to all.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This competition was first published by TenderStream on 13.05.2013 here

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