White Cube Bermondsey
by Casper Mueller Kneer

| 4 comments
More:

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

Architects Casper Mueller Kneer have converted a south London warehouse into the city’s third White Cube gallery.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

White Cube Bermondsey is considerably larger than the galleries in St. James’s and Shoreditch and contains three separate exhibition areas.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

These areas comprise one space known as the South Galleries, a set of three rooms collectively known as the North Galleries and top-lit cube-shaped gallery called 9x9x9.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

The building also houses an auditorium, archive, storage warehouse, bookshop and private viewing rooms.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

A new canopy projects out from the engineering-brick exterior to shelter the gallery entrance.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

Other interesting gallery spaces worth a look include one in Japan with a softly curved shape and sliced entranceway and another in London inside a former office building - see more stories about galleries here.

White Cube Bermondsey by Casper Mueller Kneer

Photography is by Ben Westoby.

The following text was provided by the White Cube Gallery and the architects:


White Cube Bermondsey

144–152 Bermondsey Street is an existing warehouse and office building, set back from Bermondsey Street via an entrance yard. The building dates from the 1970s and has a modernist industrial appearance, with long horizontal window bands and a simple cubic shape. The outer walls of the building are constructed from dark brown engineering brick, with a concrete and steel framed internal structure.

"We were attracted by the dimensions of the original building, the deep views of up to 70 m", Jens Casper says. "We tried to adopt these deep views for the Gallery Building. For us the project is a play of light, volumes and proportional relationships set against a raw material palette. Geometrically, each space is in itself very simple, yet the sequence of spaces creates a complex ensemble and rich spatial experience for the visitor.”

Materially, the industrial character of the building was maintained and enhanced by new additions and modifications. The structure was generally retained, but opened up towards Bermondsey Street. The entrance, reception, delivery areas and front yard were substantially modified and a new canopy has been introduced. The new entrance yard is enclosed by a sequence of 151 vertical steel fins along Bermondsey Street.

Internally, a series of new spaces were created – both public and private functions are organised around a central corridor which is 70 m long. Tube lights mounted onto raw-steel mesh ceiling panels provide this space with a distinct rhythm.

There are three principal exhibition spaces of varying proportions and light conditions, offering flexibility in the scale and nature of the artworks that can be installed:
‘9x9x9’ is a centrally located cubic space with a 9 m high ceiling. It has a translucent fabric ceiling and is flooded with natural light. The 'South Galleries', the largest display area, provides 780 m2 of column-free space. They are fitted with stretch ceiling panels and track lights, are part day-lit and sub-dividable. The 'North Galleries' are smaller and more experimental in character with fluorescent lighting. A 60 seat auditorium allows the presentation of films and lectures in blackout conditions.

Engineering and Construction

The new gallery spaces were inserted as self-supporting freestanding volumes, barely touching the envelope of the existing building.

The powerfloated concrete floors can take loadings up to 100 KN/m2. Walls and ceilings are constructed as steel cages allowing art to be installed at almost any point within the space.

Structural exclusion zones allow the punching through of walls at selected locations to allow entry points into the exhibition spaces to be coordinated with the ever-changing displays.

Doors are generally oversized to ease the transport of art between the spaces. The largest set of doors measures 4.3 m in height and 3.7 m in width. Large wall sections can be opened to allow the movement of works of art between the galleries, these operate around single points pivots measuring up to 5.4 x 3.2 m.

Materials

The materials that are set against the white gallery walls are industrial in character, often untreated and self-coloured. The floors are powerfloated natural grey concrete. Ceiling materials include stretch fabrics for viewing rooms and galleries. Untreated and powder- coated steel meshes are used for the public corridor, the new entrance canopy and the entrance divider. Doors are made from untreated mild steel or stainless steel and glass. Concrete, grey granite and steel dominate the external landscaping.

Information

White Cube Bermondsey provides more than 5440 m2 (58,000 sq ft) of interior space on a site of 1.7 acres (74,300 sq ft)

South Galleries - The largest display area with 780 m2 (8,400 sq ft)

North Galleries- Each of the three separate exhibition spaces known collectively as the ‘North Galleries’ will be 80 m2 (850 sq ft)

9x9x9 - This gallery is naturally top-lit and measures 81 m2

The building also includes substantial warehousing, private viewing rooms, an archive room, an auditorium and a bookshop.
White Cube Mason’s Yard and Hoxton Square

White Cube Mason’s Yard provides more than 1110 m2 (11,900) sq ft of interior space. The Lower Ground Floor gallery is 220 m2 (2,370 sq ft). The Ground Floor gallery is 85 m2 (925 sq ft)

White Cube Hoxton Square provides more than 890 m2 (9,500 sq ft) of interior space. The Ground Floor gallery is 160 m2 (1,700 sq ft). The First Floor gallery is 40 m2 (400 sq ft)

The White Cube Bermondsey Exhibition Programme for 2012-2013 will include Anselm Kiefer, Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst, Zhang Huan and Mark Bradford.

Project Team

Architect: Casper Mueller Kneer
Services Engineers: Bob Costello Associates
Structural Engineer: Atelier One
Fire Safety Consultants: Ramboll UK
CDM Consultants: Goddard Consulting
Project Managers: Millbridge Group
Quantity Surveyors: Millbridge Group
Executive Architects: RHWL Architects
Acoustic Consultants: BDP
Main Contractor: Life Build Solutions

  • http://thebarenecessitiesblog.blogspot.com/ zee

    The text describes an interesting and careful take on the relationship to the old building, the variety of spaces (would be useful to see plans and sections though) and the material choices.

    However the built project gives no clue of such a relationship – from the photos, the exhibition spaces could be located anywhere, warehouse or no. The exterior seems nice, but overall the way the existing building was tackled turns out pretty rough.

    Then, isn't continuing to build white cube art galleries the same way today as twenty years ago (white opaque walls, raw concrete floors, excluded urban context) an obsolete take on the place of art ?

    • daedalus

      Agree completly,

      visited the building at opening day, the most interesting bit of the gallery project (being located in a storage building) was completly obliterated. It's so institutional, even the security people wear black suits… very disappointing in regards with the initial project presentation that seemed promising. And yes, the "white" gallery concept seems so passé, inovation is needed please!

  • http://www.zazous.co.uk/ nick austin

    There are now more art galleries in Britain than artists.

  • Ariel

    I popped in today and was completely blown away. What an incredible place to show art. And the work looked amazing.