A concrete gateway marks the entrance to the Threshold and Treasure art gallery, which architecture studio AMAA has housed in a former print house in Arzignano, Italy.
Created for the cultural association Atipografia, the gallery occupies the tactile, unfinished interiors of a 19th-century masonry and timber warehouse, which has been framed and extended with concrete, glass and steel additions.
AMAA‘s design for Threshold and Treasure takes the form of a sequence of thresholds, beginning with a large, concave concrete gateway that doubles as a seating area.
This leads through to a series of small gardens that buffer the tranquil gallery spaces from the street.
“The entire project’s significance emerges precisely in the area of the threshold, making the entrance a dual function of an urban system and a work of art,” described the studio.
“It is intended to be crossed in order to enter the first ‘secret’ garden and a completely different realm by leaving behind the chaos caused by the immediate urban environment: an essential, oneiric peace that has been sought for just one purpose, to house art,” it continued.
Moving through the garden, visitors encounter a 20th-century concrete addition to the print house, which now serves as a guesthouse for artists in residence. Its interiors are finished in matte-black paint and wooden panelling.
Past this building are the exhibition spaces inside the original warehouse structure, which open up onto a garden towards the back of the site that is enclosed by a U-shaped extension in glass and steel.
“The place unveils itself gradually, following a closed sequence of crossings, one threshold at a time,” said the studio. “A glass and steel cage expands the area and reveals the internal court, almost as if it were a treasure.”
Both the main gate and the warehouse building have been finished with sliding metal doors, with the entrance to the gallery sheltered beneath a concrete metal canopy.
An external concrete staircase leads to the site’s upper level. Here, AMAA has positioned a raised garden beside an artist’s studio.
Internally, all of the existing surfaces have been left in their rough, textured state, creating a contrast with the modern additions and celebrating the various alterations that have taken place over time.
Threshold and Treasure is not the first adaptive reuse project by AMAA. In 2020, it created its own studio by inserting a glass box into another factory building in Arzignano.
The photography is by Simone Bossi.
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