In 1997, Bark won an open competition to design the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery and stands today as one of the firm’s very first projects. This project realised the Council’s proposal to upgrade and convert the old Caloundra Library into an Art Gallery to act as a hub for Caloundra’s growing civic and cultural precinct. The transformed space integrates a series of flexible spaces with pivoting and sliding wall panels. Although remodelled, the existing building is visible through a new, fully-glazed bookshop and café space on the northeast corner of the plan. Alvar Aalto’s 1937 undulating flower vase was a strong reference for the fluent plan of the space created. As such, the gallery building is conceived as a sculpture in its own right – a sinuous volume with soft, fluid contours. The articulated membrane of glass transforms from a kaleidoscope that enhances the changing light throughout the day into a lantern amongst the trees at night.
Sitting within a landscape of existing civic buildings and the twisted forms and papery skin of Melaleuca trees, the gallery maintains a sensitive relationship to its environment through varying degrees of transparency, translucency, shadow, reflection, colour and contrast.