White Cube gallery by Carmody Groarke has clear plastic skin

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Carmody Groarke's new White Cube gallery is an angular timber and plastic pavilion

London studio Carmody Groarke has used timber and plastic to build a temporary exhibition space for the White Cube art gallery in the grounds of a country house in East Sussex, England (+ slideshow).

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

Constructed on a lawn between a lake and a restaurant, White Cube Glyndebourne will provide a dedicated art space during the annual Glyndebourne Festival Opera for at least the next three years.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

Architects Kevin Carmody and Andy Groarke – who have worked on a string of temporary structures, from a rooftop restaurant to the pavilions that house the Frieze Art Fair – planned the asymmetric structure as a "building within a building".

The aim was to offer both indoor and outdoor space, creating a facility that is as much a summer pavilion as a gallery.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

"[It] forms a strong physical and visual connection between interior and landscape," said the duo.

"The inner building contains a large, singular gallery room designed for exhibiting art, whilst the outer building forms a sheltered terrace that extends the visual arts programme of the opera season outdoors."

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

Following the patterns of their previous projects, the architects selected materials they deemed suitable for a temporary structure – cross-laminated timber, plywood and clear polycarbonate plastic.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

The two woods provide the main structural framework, while the polycarbonate gives a see-through outer skin to the walls of the gallery and the surrounding terrace.

According to Carmody Groarke, this gives the pavilion "an ethereal character that reflects the surrounding landscape and changes in external light across the day".

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

The terrace is accessed via an elevated pathway that negotiates the gentle level change across the site. It is fronted by a series of simple balustrades, also built from wood and polycarbonate.

"The terrace becomes an important social space providing elevated views of the gardens and the rolling hills of the English countryside beyond," said the architects.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

This year's opera festival started on 21 May and runs through to 30 August. White Cube Glyndebourne is hosting its inaugural exhibition, dedicated to the paintings of German artist Georg Baselitz, in tandem with the festival.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke
Photograph by George Darrell

Unlike the rough-and-ready exterior, the interior of the 10 by eight-metre gallery is finished in monochrome tones more reminiscent of the White Cube's permanent galleries in London's Bermondsey and St James's. Lighting is provided by florescent tubes that create stripes across the angled ceiling.

White Cube was founded by British art dealer Jay Jopling in 1993, and specialises in contemporary art works.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke

Photography is by Luke Hayes, apart from where otherwise indicated.

Glyndebourne White Cube by Carmody Groarke
Site plan – click for larger image