Do you remember the most brilliant display of stars and art observed in your life (yes, stars and art—the combination)? If you were standing on the roof of the Beverly Hills-based Gagosian Gallery this evening the question would be easy to answer. Recently, design partner with Richard Meier & Partners Architects, Michael Palladino, FAIA, commanded a project steeped in memory, revisiting their original design of this gallery. Sometimes, returning to the past is beneficial, especially to an architect. Expanding or updating a project will offer its own set of unique challenges. This one—to build adaptive reuse of retail space, and expand upon the Beverly Hills-based Gagosian Gallery’s existing space to include a roof deck, library, and art preparation area—was such for Palladino and firm.
The expansion included adding 5,000 square feet to the existing 6,600. The addition, anchored by a new 3,000 square-foot, street‐level exhibition space, was designed for better use of natural light. Palladino stated in a press release, “Over 15 years and three construction phases, the Gagosian Gallery and Richard Meier & Partners, have collaborated to create exceptional galleries that take advantage of the quality of daylight we enjoy in southern California.”
The latest addition embodies the qualities of space and light which distinguish this gallery, yet departs with its expressive reuse of an existing wood-barrel-vault roof. The natural wood ceiling, trusses and steel beam, offer a distinctive counterpoint to the airfoil wing that scoops daylight into the existing gallery. The new space utilizes skylights to balance daylight from the north and south. The expansive day-lit gallery walls, which were already known for oversize, larger-than-life art, can now accommodate even larger works in gallery space with a quality of light consistent with the original Gagosian Gallery. The glazed public street façade blends seamlessly with the existing Gallery facade and provides pedestrians a glimpse into the gallery. A single 225 sq. ft. glass and aluminum sliding door at the street allows oversized artwork to be unloaded directly into the gallery and opens exhibit space to the active Beverly Hills street.
Major interior finish details include: painted gypsum board, acid washed concrete floors and natural finish maple floors. New second-level offices and a private sky-lit viewing gallery not only address the gallery’s exhibit needs, but also to house the growing staff, as there are now more administrative employees. At the roof, a sculpture terrace provides a unique outdoor setting for installations and offers views of the city and the surrounding Hollywood Hills—views which inspire and perhaps remind the observer that while moving forward and creating something better than before is always the goal, sometimes we must return to the original to do so.
Palladino, moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to open the Richard Meier & Partners west coast office, and to design the Getty Center. Palladino earned his Bachelor’s of Arts in architecture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and Master of Architecture from Harvard University. He is a frequent guest lecture for institutions including USC, UCLA and LACMA. Palladino co-founded the Museum of Contemporary Arts’ Architecture and Design Council in Los Angeles. In 2008, Palladino was elevated to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects.