Artspace Mackay was designed by Cox Rayner Architects and constructed by ABI Group.
Architectural Statement - Michael Rayner, Cox Rayner Architects, Brisbane:
"Artspace Mackay joins a network of outstanding regional galleries throughout Queensland, many of which are housed in adapted existing buildings such as Cairns, Townsville, Gladstone and Brisbane. By contrast, Artspace Mackay is housed in a new building on a 'greenfield' site, away from the main activity areas of its city and in a relatively austere setting of separated civic buildings.
Part of our response to this context was to treat the building as a sculpture and as a distinct corner-marker to the city's civic precinct. The sculptural form however is not indiscriminate. The governing idea was to clearly express its parts, the necessarily 'solid' gallery distinct from those areas that can be 'transparent' - the community workshops, cafe and administration - that combine to form a second wing. The foyer that connects the two areas is devised as a multi-functional space equally transparent and offering views to the retained existing treescape.
The angular plan and forms of the building have two main purposes. The first is to reinforce the diagonal movement route which people tend to take from the street corner to the library and administration buildings. The second and more important is to create shifts in perspective internally which create the impression of a much larger and more complex series of spaces than the brief contemplated. We are with the Council and community support, aiming for a new kind of civic identity and an intriguing experience of different kinds of spaces.
The buildings in the immediate vicinity are not especially tropical in character.
The broad roof canopies, narrowing the building elements to the east and west, and the creation of a shaded courtyard are intended to establish a contemporary tropical character in conjunction with the preservation of the existing trees on site.
The architecture also seeks to question the role of architecture as sculpture in a quirky way - the building's street façade peeling open to encase an old artifact from sugar cane farming - this work being undertaking with artist Craig Walsh. The spiral form that results is reflected in paving work by artist Jill Chism, which is stand-alone in the landscape."