HWKN set out to convert an industrial warehouse into a contemporary art space that is as diverse, flexible, and adaptable as the buildings and cities we live in. Sometimes an exhibition at JAX 01 might demand the gallery be dark and moody; other times it needs to be light and ethereal. And on unique occasions it calls out for the entire 60,000 sq foot space to be flooded with sunshine.
To achieve this, HWKN designed a new, articulating facade that references the industrial roots of the original Ajax warehouse but with a twist. The columns are covered with corten that reach out into the open plaza, extending the columns as seating elements and access ramps into the public space. Thus, the whole facade acts as an open invitation for art lovers to approach and head inside.
HWKN’s design exhibits extraordinary flexibility. The oversized shutters we attached high on the façade expand and collapse to control the flow of light into the spaces within. Through a simple fold in the shutter design, the firm created a further iconic gesture that expresses the life now within the building. Inside or outside, the artwork is always visible, creating a connection with visitors and capturing their curiosity.
Inside, winding, sculpted ramps and an integrated bleacher encourage an easy circulation between the ground floor and mezzanine galleries. Upon arrival, the open floor plan provides visitors a sweeping, unobstructed view of all artwork on display. To accommodate the needs of each individual installation, the gallery features flexible exhibition walls that can easily be re-positioned with a forklift depending on curatorial needs.
The exterior courtyard extends the gallery’s ambitions allowing space for sculptural interventions, a lively cafe, open seating, and an exciting arrival experience.