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FIRST LOOK

LTS Architects refurbishes listed Boland House as Science Gallery London

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Housed behind a Georgian façade opposite London Bridge Station, the new gallery blends science, art and technology

LTS Architects was appointed by King’s College London to convert the Grade II*-listed Boland House, part of the original Guy’s Hospital, into a series of gallery spaces designed to engage visitors with a programme blending science, art and technology. 

The building has an inward-looking Georgian façade, but the brief demanded permeability and openness to draw in foot traffic from the neighbouring station. Inside, the client required a flexible, adaptable space, with clear navigation around the entrance area and ease of access for temporary exhibitions. 

Outside, a cast stone seat provides street furniture adjacent to the gallery entrance, designed to complement the Portland Stone plinth of the building.

On entering, a central atrium stands above street level and is visible through the large street-facing windows which replace the Georgian brick façade. 

On the ground floor a café and shop can be flexibly reconfigured into an events space, while upper floors contain open gallery spaces that can be modified according to the desires of the curator. The project also features a lecture and performance theatre, while a former car park has been converted into a courtyard which can also host events.

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1218 n187 medium

Architect’s view

A significant addition to the cultural landscape of the UK’s capital, Science Gallery London is an extraordinary project that fuses the innovative programme of Science Gallery International with the research strengths of King’s College London.

Given the historic sensitivities of the site it was a refurbishment driven by balancing the simple functional requirements of the brief with the complexity of working with a listed building. The architectural response opens up the building, positioning the main entrance within the streetscape, rather than inside the courtyard, and carving out a large glazed opening from the masonry façade to act as a ‘shop front’ revealing the exhibitions and activities within.

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1218 n195

Project data

Start date April 2016
Completion date September 2018
Contract value Science Gallery sits within a broader refurbishment of Guy’s Campus, which will cost around £30 million
Gross internal floor area 2,117m²
Form of Contract Traditional JCT
Client King’s College London
Main contractor Interserve Paragon
Structural engineer WSP
M&E engineer WSP
Landscape architect LDA
Heritage consultant Alan Baxter Associates
Quantity surveyor Turner & Townsend
Lighting designer Arup Lighting
Fire consultant Astute Fire
Archaeologist Pre-Construct Archaeology
Planning consultant Deloittes Planning Services
Enabling works contractor Deconstruct
Transport consultant TTP Consultants
Acoustic consultant Hann Tucker
Wayfinding design Aterlier/Why Brow
Approved building inspector MLM
CAD software used Revit

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Readers' comments (2)

  • testing

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  • WHERE ART AND SCIENCE COLLIDE' (image 6/15) - presumably designed to catch the eye, but isn't this new gallery more about collaboration than collision?
    Having said that, the 'carving out' of a large glazed opening (with strident graphics to hook the passer-by) and the sticking on of a new lift tower (with its tedious upended graphics) all to a listed building, is about as subtle as Heatherwick's butchering of the Coal Drops in the King's Cross railway lands.
    This is surely creating a hostage to fortune and anyone of the Scruton tendency will descend on it with squawks of joyous horror - just compare 1/15 with 5/15.

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