November 26th, 2009
Everybody is talking about it, so here’s a photo set of Nottingham Contemporary on the opening weekend. People were queuing to get in on the day and the visitor numbers continue to be healthy. It’s a serious piece of architecture that responds well to the scale of Middle Pavement and Weekday Cross, although I am slightly troubled by the massing of the building from the uphill approach - Nottingham is littered with buildings which turn their backs to the main vehicular routes and the gallery appears to do the same, but in a highly crafted way (see picture below for the approach up the hill).
The lace pattern is apparently controversial for some people. I wish it had been more explicit, less tentative. From a distance it is a milky sheen. The architects didn’t want to be ‘Pop’. The overall elevational treatment with it’s folds, borders and panels reminded me of Joseph Hoffmann’s work. To pursue the Secessionist theme, is the ribbed golden container on the roof a reference to Olbrich’s ‘golden cabbage’?
I was not allowed to photograph the interior. It is very good - simple, robust, well-lit.
The best article I have read about the building is by Ellis Woodman in Building Design.