12-Sided Gallery Brings Art Back to UK Park
London’s Vauxhall neighborhood has gotten some of its art back, thanks to Cabinet Gallery and its unconventional headquarters.
The space, which is at the corner of what used to be the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, is a 12-sided, folded brick structure that houses the gallery, some apartments and an events space at the top.
A decade in the making, gallery directors Martin McGeown and Andrew Wheatley, along with architect Trevor Horne, settled on this space because of its history of public entertainment.
"As architects our first instinct was to make a gesture to the park and bring people in," Horne said in an interview. "We were able to give more space to the park by getting rid of an access road and bringing the park right up to the street."
The 12 sides force the inside space of the gallery to be the opposite of modular, creating plenty of wall areas for art to be displayed. Artists who the gallery works with also had a hand in some of the building’s features, including the oak windows set into the brick facade (Marc Camille Chaimowicz) and the ceramic cladding on the balconies (Lucy McKenzie).
Artist John Knight also proposed the addition of a large vertical slot, inspired by when artists are faced with getting a large canvas into a show.
"The artists involved all had views on architecture, which really enriched the whole process," said Horne. "Although the building doesn't open up to the park, these artistic gestures give something to the park."
The six-story building brings together the brick, oak, exposed concrete, and basalt flooring into its folds, putting a twist on an unspoken minimalist mandate for galleries that house modern art.