White Cube, Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom
Casper Mueller Kneer

Conversion and extension of an ordinary 1970s warehouse into a contemporary art gallery complex. More than 5440 m sq of existing space were transformed to provide several exhibition spaces each with their own character, a suite of private viewing rooms, a 60 seater auditorium, a bookshop, an archive and offices as well as facilities for art storage, assembly and documentation.

Materially, the industrial character of the building was maintained and enhanced by new additions and modifications. The structure was generally retained, but opened up and substantially modified. A new entrance yard, brought a previously closed off space back into the public realm. Internally the public spaces are arranged along a 60m long streetlike corridor.

As the existing building could not cope with the demanding requirements of the new use, the gallery spaces were inserted as free standing volumes into the heart of the building and surrounded by ancillary spaces. This allowed the galleries to be structurally and enviromentally self-contained and to be serviced from all sides.

There are three principle exhibition areas which differ in dimensions, proportions and light condition: The ‘South Galleries’ provide 780 m sq of column free space and act as the main display area. They use a combination of natural and artificial light. The ‘North Galleries’ are smaller, more experimental in character and artificially light. ‘9x9x9’ is a centrally located cubic space – the only space penetrating the existing building envelope and flooded with natural light. An auditorium allows the presentation of films and lectures. 4 private viewing rooms allow the presentation of art to private clients. All viewing rooms and galleries allow for varying sub divisions by temporary walls to support different curatorial approaches.

Industrial materials were set against the white gallery interiors. These are often untreated or self-coloured. The floors are power floated natural grey concrete. Steel meshes are used for the public corridor and entrance areas. Doors are
made from untreated mild steel or stainless steel and glass. Concrete, granite and steel dominate the external landscaping.

Completed: October 2011

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