The Jacques Martínez Gallery it has a long way to go. In the 70s it was located in CABA, on Florida at 900. In 2008 it moved to Avenida de Mayo 1130 and joined the founder’s daughter, Clara, in managing the art space. Today there are three generations that work together in a new place, a house of the 30s in San Isidro.
The person in charge of the remodeling was the architect Cristian O’Connor, who explains that the work to intervene is originally from the studio Sánchez-Lagos-de la Torre.
In order not to alter the relationship of the house with the garden, a level below was incorporated. Photo: Carlos Furman
“A project was requested to accompany and reflect the change in profile that they wanted to address,” he details. The spaces inhabited by the gallery throughout its history “basically consisted of a very good showroom with an office and a warehouse to store work ”.
Over the years, the gallery was transformed and I no longer felt that the white cube or the mere white wall was the best way to display an author’s expression. In addition, there were other functional reasons. The business had an increasingly important back room and more employees working in teams and in files.
At the same time, Martínez wanted to maintain a more intimate contact with your customers. In effect, there was a search to reflect new perspectives in a suitable setting: “They wanted to radically change the typical visit to a silent room where there is little information and one leaves soon, for one of a lot of stimuli from the moment in which you arrive, where art seems to dwell there naturally, and welcomes the visitor with open arms and soul ”.
As stated O’Connor, “This experience included giving the client the possibility to easily go through the back room, see the work up close, choose what they want to see, take their time, go through everything in a relaxed welcome atmosphere.”
The sketch shows how the extension does not affect the original aesthetics of the house.
The proposal envisioned the project as a whole: the existing house, its garden and the new space to be built.
“A new underground space, thus seeking not to alter the house or its relationship with the garden but, on the contrary, to make the most of them for the gallery’s social activity ”.
On the other hand, being underground, it would be easier to maintain an atmosphere of constant temperature and humidity, necessary for the adequate protection of the works that will share the space with the showroom.
“The coexistence of the exhibition hall with the back room seemed not only an interesting response from the architecture, but it was also an eloquent message in terms of its profile and its attitude towards its audience,” says the author.
The intervention respects the original work and does not imitate its style. Photo: Carlos Furman.
The rectangle that contains the room is below the driveway side patio, so the same percentage of absorption land. It is through this outdoor patio / foyer where you go down a longitudinal cut that extends into the entrance hall with overhead lighting.
Inside, the room was connected with a generous work and meeting space, continuing the existing staircase located in a tower cylinder; both staircases complement each other and create a fluid circulation between the different levels and spaces.
The submuration of that circular shape, a longitudinal street of wooden blocks and the overhead light define the gallery space.
The pre-existing staircase extended to the basement. Photo: Carlos Furman
A stretched white fabric filters outside light through a simple nautical rope system and steel skids. The two main walls for hanging work are joined to the floor with a curved plinth that softens the effect of the overhead light.
Competing with the work exhibited for the importance of space, at the two ends are the two large volumes dedicated to the storage of the works, which are visible, in transparent bars, hung from the ceiling. These modules can easily be opened towards the center in order to benefit from the natural light and the enormous perspective of the linear room.
Two types of lighting reach the entire surface of the house. One is the one that supplants natural light over the stretched canvas and, the other, consists of a linear tray through which data also pass and allows the lighting to be changed according to the requirements of the different samples in the gallery.