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Gallery is a site for sore eyes BY DEBORAH SINGMASTER

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Last week saw the relaunch of the Site Gallery for media, art and photography with the completion of the second phase of its new premises at 1 Brown Street. The new structure, designed by Derek Trowell Architects, has been built behind a retained but adapted Victorian facade. Inside, dta inserted a new steel frame and extended the land-locked building upwards to gain a third storey above roof level. The gallery now has a shop, cafe, reception area and exhibition gallery on the ground-floor level, and dark rooms, offices and teaching spaces on the upper floors.

The client wanted 'a minimal, played-down, simple interior, with clean lines', says Trowell. Floors are finished in a sealed screed, walls are plain plaster, and steelwork is painted white. Shadow gaps have been used in place of architraves or skirting boards. Lighting was particularly important. In the ground-floor gallery, which occupies an existing single- storey extension to the rear of the building, natural daylight has been introduced through a rooflight with a diffusing panel below; light fittings are concealed above the diffuser.

The aim of the gallery is to show 'challenging lens-based work of international standard to a wide audience'. It received £1.8 million from the Lottery, the European Regional Development Fund and English Partnerships.

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