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Witherford Watson Mann's House of Illustration opens

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Witherford Watson Mann’s House of Illustration in Kings Cross has opened to the public

The Stirling Prize-winning practice’s gallery and exhibition space is set within a former Victorian office building next to the Stanton Williams-designed Central St Martins building.

The galleries have been constructed as a suite or rooms with new wall and ceiling linings. The rooms are interlinked creating a series of different spaces in a variety of sizes.

The building also includes an education studio, a shop, offices and a flexible gallery and events space.

Witherford Watson Mann's House of Illustration

The architect’s view

The rooms are distinctive for their double enclosure, both contemporary and Victorian. This is visible in the daylight washing across the high ceilings of the original rooms, in the framing of the moulded doorways in new deep joinery linings, and in the new window shutters giving glimpses of the large original sash windows. The scale and atmosphere evoke a house as much as a gallery – a house of illustration.

The new rooms also form gallery spaces to the exterior, shallow spaces where the exhibition spills out as if in a shop window, presenting the world of illustration to the wider Kings Cross site. In the opening show, Quentin Blake’s birds float from the inside to the outside through the book-like shutters.

Witherford Watson Mann's House of Illustration

Project data

Location Kings Cross, London 
Type of project gallery 
Client House of Illustration
Architect Witherford Watson Mann
Structural engineer Price & Myers
M&E engineer P3R Engineers
Quantity surveyor Jackson Coles
Completion date July 2014

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