The extended and revamped MK Gallery aims to counter Milton Keynes’ reputation as a cultural cold spot, while celebrating its original utopian ideas, writes Fran Williams.
This much-anticipated building proves that old-fashioned narrative-led design is not a dying art. After 6a architects’ South London Gallery and Raven Row, the flashy form of MK Gallery’s extension doesn’t seem as pared-back and layered as its predecessors. But as one delves deeper, the hidden story, inspired by a rigorous and complex thread of historical references, design precedents and strict rules, is revealed.
MK Gallery is located at the top of Midsummer Boulevard, next to Milton Keynes Theatre, and faces on to Campbell Park and Milton Keynes’ Grade II-listed shopping centre, a 10-minute drive from the train station. This point, where park meets city, is integral to 6a’s scheme.