2008 | Somerhill Gallery | Chapel Hill, NC
Somerhill Gallery is a 10,000 square foot gallery and curatorial workshop, located in the Old Prizery portion of the Venable Building in downtown Durham. Somerhill, the largest independent gallery in the Southeast, was originally established in 1976 and features contemporary painting, sculpture, and fine crafts, drawn from a host of renowned of regional artists.
When the owner lost the lease to his former Chapel Hill location, he asked his original architect, Philip Szostak, FAIA, to assist him in finding a home for Somerhill. The lease negotiations, design, permitting, and construction of the new gallery – all under the guidance of Mr. Szostak – took under three months, a remarkably quick turnaround that permitted the client to renew the operation of his business within the shortest possible timeframe.
The new Somerhill features five interconnected gallery spaces which provide a variety of viewing contexts for the display of artwork. There is a photography gallery, an arts, crafts and glassware gallery, a special exhibits gallery, a sculpture court, and a display space dedicated to the rotating exhibit of artists.
The atmosphere of the galleries is intimate, warm, and home-like, featuring comfortable furnishings and a working fireplace. Natural daylighting is introduced throughout the renovation, including an interior light well and courtyard, which also serves as the sculptural display gallery. The wood floor is composed of recycled lumber. In addition to the exhibit of fine art, Somerhill is frequently host to invited seminars, lectures, meetings, musical presentations, and catered dining events for civic organizations and private parties.