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Assemble wins contest for new Goldsmiths College art gallery

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Assemble has defeated five rival practices in the competition to design a new £1.8 million art gallery for Goldsmiths College in south-east London

The up and coming outfit was vying against 6a, HAT Projects, Jamie Fobert Architects, Dow Jones Architects and former Herzog & de Meuron star Harry Gugger – the brains behind the Tate Modern revamp – for the 400m² Laurie Grove Baths redevelopment project.

The shortlist

  • 6a Architects
  • Assemble    
  • Dow Jones Architects 
  • Harry Gugger Studio          
  • HAT Projects         
  • Jamie Fobert Architects  

The project, Goldsmiths says, will serve as a ‘symbol of creativity and excellence’ for the University of London college, which includes artists Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Sarah Lucas among its alumni.

Planned to open in 2016, the regeneration of the former swimming baths will create a new 400m² gallery inside the building’s water tanks and adjacent spaces, and also create a new entrance hall in front of the tanks.

Assemble’s design reuses the Victorian baths’ original black steel water tanks and features two additional steel-framed ‘lanterns’ structures which will also host exhibition space.

Paloma Strelitz and Adam Willis of Assemble said: ‘We envisage the gallery becoming a new centre for the arts in South London, and are honoured to contribute to an institution that is further promoting its identity as an inspirational source of creativity for students, practitioners and the public.’

They continued: ‘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.’

The competition judges included former Goldsmiths student Antony Gormley, RIBA Gold Medallist David Chipperfield and philanthropist Candida Gertler.

Gormley said: ‘The arrival of a gallery is an important moment in the development of Goldsmiths. This will become a resource for the university and for London: a place where students and the wider public can experience and test-drive new forms of art as well as see relevant examples of art from the past, ancient and modern.’

He continued: ‘It will be a place where curators can exercise their skills, artists both international and from the college can make, exhibit and discuss their work and where all the ways in which Goldsmiths extends our understanding of the culture of our time can be shared with a curious public.’

More than 80 outfits registered for the contest. Research-led projects, residencies and a regular exhibition programme of international artists are all planned for the new space.

Previous commissions by the college include Will Alsop’s Ben Pimlott Building completed in 2005.








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