London-based firm Assemble has been selected to design a new art gallery for Goldsmiths College at the University of London. Assemble was chosen over five other shortlisted firms for the project, which consists of constructing a new 400 square meter gallery in the back of what was formerly a Victorian bath-house, and is now the college’s Grade-II listed art studios.
Assemble is a young practice that gained attention for its pop-up cinema in a gas station during 2010. The firm’s most recent project is their Yardhouse workspace in Stratford. Assemble’s Goldsmiths gallery design integrates new and modern elements - such as steel frame lanterns - into the building’s unique character and existing structures, which includes old water tanks. “The Victorian bathhouse at Laurie Grove offers a series of extraordinary found spaces. The cast iron water tanks have a powerful materiality which will be preserved and amplified, whilst new top-lit galleries will provide a rich spatial counter-point in an ensemble offering unique opportunities for the display of art,” Paloma Strelitz and Adam Willis, from Assemble, said in a statement.
More details on Assemble’s winning design after the break…
For the Goldsmiths College project, Assemble will use the former loading bay as the main entrance to the gallery, constructing new full-width steps for the entrance. This corner of the gallery will be left open at ground-level, serving as an external display space and “blurring the boundary between being inside and outside.”
A key element of Assemble’s design is the use of the building’s old cast iron water tanks as gallery space. The galleries within the tanks will make use of the iron ‘as found’, creating a contrast with the more typical ‘white box’ galleries in the new additions.
The new additions include installing steel frame lanterns into the space, creating “a provocative and stimulating dialogue between new and old.” The lantern gallery space will be naturally top lit and can be used to display larger works of art.