The new Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Gallery Building (MIMA) and adjoining Public Square are part of the redevelopment of the town centre in Middlesbrough, a community of approximately 150,000 inhabitants in the North East of England.
The project is defined by a single public open space, clearly identifiable with distinct areas, that encourages active use, strengthens connections with the surrounding streets and supports pedestrian movement throughout the town centre.
Located on the south side of the Square the new art gallery represents the first phase of implementing a coherent and vibrant new cultural quarter with public activities. The gallery houses Middlesbrough’s collection of modern arts and crafts as well as temporary exhibitions, a café, restaurant, shop and education spaces.
The building itself is separated into two distinct building parts reflecting the public and support functions inside, with the exhibition space overlapping the two and the public foyer linking them together. The form and materials express this duality of the concept, while respecting the scale and material of the surrounding buildings.
Public spaces face the square with the education and entertainment areas taking advantage of the views. The public side with the main entrance, café and shop, is spacious, open and inviting and enables easy access to the gallery.
The layered, transparent facade enhances the openness and the visual connections between the square, the town, and the gallery’s interior, thus optimising the relationship between MIMA and the revitalised public and cultural quarter of Middlesbrough. MIMA serves as a commercial and cultural center for an area of about 650,000 people.
Erick van Egeraat associated architects won the International competition in 2002.
The public square was designed in collaboration with Dutch landscape architects West 8.