The Galleria Temporanea, or Transient Gallery, formed part of Scotland’s contribution to the International Architecture Exhibition during the Venice Biennale in 2012. The mobile pop-up gallery explored the significance of everyday functional objects that create or enhance a sense of collective identity across the communities that use them. It presented these often forgotten or overlooked artefacts in a gallery-like environment to celebrate their history and encourage debate on the relevance of such shared functional objects in past, present and future communities.
Often operating without official consents, the gallery was erected in minutes and remained in situ for approximately one hour in each location, before being dismantled as quickly as it arrived. The project was made possible through extensive experimentation and collaboration with artist Tim Taylor, along with joiners, stone masons and fabricators whose expertise contributed significantly to the outcome. The project was delivered on a very low budget and was built, transported and erected by GRAS in various locations in Venice, before returning to Scotland for use during events in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
In Venice, the Galleria Temporanea was installed around the disused wells that dot the city, temporarily isolating, framing and objectifying them as important works of architecture. The design responded to the Biennale’s theme of ‘Common Ground’ which invited architects to reflect on “continuity, context and memory” in the discipline of architecture. The gallery consisted of several interlocking panels featuring an outer surface made from rough, hand-carved polystyrene. The heat-sealed polystyrene evoked the aged surfaces of the stone wells and the walls were topped with a smooth upper course into which the project’s title was carved in a capitalised Roman-style font.
Galleria Temporanea Details
Circular gallery concept
Isometric view of twelve panels
Individual panels assembly diagram
The gallery was constructed primarily from Ultra High Density, 100% recyclable polystyrene combining modern CAM techniques with traditional crafts. Each panel was cut by machine before being hand tooled, finished and assembled in the practice’s workshop. In order to explore the potential treatments of the material all of the tooling was undertaken by the architects working in collaboration with traditional craftsmen, including a cabinetmaker and stonemason.
The rough outer face was hand tooled using traditional techniques normally associated with stone working, before being heat sealed to form a hard-wearing outer crust, while the inner face was surface filled and painted to provide a smooth, bright interior. The entire structure consisted of 12 panels, each weighing approximately 8kgs and that was easily assembled by two people in around twenty minutes. After the Venice Biennale 2012 the structure returned to Scotland where it was reused in various exhibitions across UK.
- Polystyrene blocks