Norval Foundation was envisioned by dhk architects , as a modern pavilion for art, set against a mountain and vineyard landscape. It is a pure expression of form; a bold rectangular mass, delineating its heavy walled enclosure and light over-sailing roof.
The building is constrained by its linear site, between a busy road and an existing wetland; turning its back to a neighbouring embassy compound. The linear circulation spine is positioned along this edge, with the galleries and public spaces facing the natural landscape, capturing framed views of the wetland, vineyards and mountains beyond.
The building, therefore, shields the wetland, creating a private space for the sculpture park and forms an inhabited threshold between public and private zones. A triple volume atrium establishes a deliberate visual connection between these zones; one urban, the other natural, and provides a physical transition between these contrasting environments. According to Derick Henstra, Executive Chairman, dhk, this commission was a rare, and welcomed, an opportunity to create a purpose-built space for exhibiting art set in a beautiful natural landscape. It’s an uncomplicated building, confident in its position and protective of the treasures within.
Norval Foundation is experienced in a linear sequence; visitors are greeted by a triple volume restaurant with a gift shop beyond, flanked by a generous reception which calmly directs guests to the central atrium that introduces the main galleries.
The gallery spaces comprise a large exhibition venue and a series of six small galleries, culminating in a dramatic triple volume sculpture gallery. The upper level accommodates offices, library, bar, and artist’s residence. Externally there is a large sculpture garden, with an amphitheatre, picnic area and timber deck serving the restaurant.
“Our aim was to create a world-class gallery to house an impressive collection, a space that would be flexible enough to play host to visiting exhibitions, commissions, and enticing to visitors from all over the world.” Says, Renske Haller, Managing Director, dhk.
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