Assemble were commissioned by Goldsmiths, University of London, to create a new public art centre, transforming the former industrial spaces of the Grade II listed Laurie Grove Baths.
The design strategy opens up and makes accessible hidden spaces of South London’s social history, bringing public life back to the building. The 1000m2 building accommodates seven new gallery spaces, a café, curators’ studio and event space. Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art will be a significant cultural resource for students, artists and the wider public, offering a diverse programme focused on exhibitions, events and education.
Assemble’s architectural approach reflects the building’s history and establishes a unique identity for its new role as a centre for the arts. A double height project space forms the social and theatrical heart of the gallery, creating a distinctive hall for installations and performances. The Bath’s cast iron water tanks have been preserved and made accessible and two new top-lit ‘white cube’ galleries provide a spatial contrast to the raw and robust fabric of the historic service spaces. The tiled Victorian bathing halls, currently used by Goldsmiths students as art studios, can now be seen from a new central balcony connecting the public to the building’s past and to its future purpose as a space for artistic production and exploration.
Assemble were appointed as designers for Goldsmiths CCA following an open architectural competition held by Goldsmiths, University of London in 2014. The project has been realised with the ongoing enthusiastic support of Goldsmiths staff and alumni, and in design collaboration with Alan Baxter Associates and Max Fordham Engineers.
Assemble Quotes about Goldsmiths CCA:
‘Given the relatively modest scale of the building in comparison to many other contemporary galleries, we wanted to capitalise on the potential for creating an art centre which offers great variety. The design offers a series of very diverse and distinctive rooms for display - contrasting qualities of light, varying proportions, different levels of finish, a range of environmental qualities. We hope that this array of spaces will offer a unique and challenging experience for both exhibiting artists and visitors alike.’
Adam Willis, Assemble
‘We were thrilled to win the commission to design a new public centre for the arts in London. Our aim has been to create a welcoming and theatrical centre which connects the public to the Bathhouse’s past, and to its future - as a space of artistic production and exploration. The architecture forms the first act of Goldsmiths CCA, and we’re really excited to see it evolve within the city’s cultural landscape opening up opportunities for creativity, participation and collaboration to the student body, the arts community and the wider public.’
Paloma Strelitz, Assemble