Gallery Oldham, together with existing C19 cultural buildings forms the first phase of a new Cultural Quarter in Oldham. The brief called for a building that generated a strong presence, and established a sense of place where people of all ages, ethnic groups and backgrounds could gather together as part of the arts-led urban and social regeneration of the town.
The new gallery comprises a 10 metre deep inhabited wall extending behind the library and local history museum, gathering them together around a remodelled garden, a forecourt to the gallery and a forum in the heart of the Quarter.
The building provides four levels of column free space, the upper three coinciding with the floor levels of the adjacent library top floor galleries. Plant rooms, workshops and delivery access are at lower ground level.
At the centre of the ground floor the double height entrance foyer is presented as an extension of the garden forecourt and contains a visitor desk a shop and huge lifts that carry large groups of visitors up to the galleries. The entrance foyer is flanked on both sides by the education facilities and a terraced cafe.
Specially commissioned artworks have been incorporated into the project to great effect including the glass test-tube chandelier in the foyer by the Art Department.
Gallery Oldham opened in 2002 and was incorporated into a larger building in 2006 incorporating Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning.