In 1990, Adam Caruso and Peter St John established the award-winning architectural firm Caruso St John. The practice, based in London’s East End, first came to public attention during an international competition held in 1995, and has since become world renowned for its contemporary projects and highly established base of international clients. Here we have a look at five of the best galleries designed by the acclaimed firm Caruso St John.
In 2011, Caruso St John began the first phase of a planned multi-stage transformation to Tate Britain, situated on Millbank in London. The first phase of the project cost £45 million and transformed the oldest parts of the Grade II listed building’s Millbank entrance, rotunda and galleries in its southeast quadrant. Caruso St John were appointed as architects for the Tate Britain in 2007, and led a project that saw the entrance rotunda of the building returned to its hub role with circulation spaces organized off it at three levels. The firm also added new stairs to the building along with a lift serving to connect all levels. The rest of the transformation will be completed in phases over the upcoming years, with long-term goals to develop a major new extension to the adjacent Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, which will accommodate a larger portion of the Tate’s historic and modern collection of contemporary British art.
In 2004, Caruso St John were selected to design Nottingham’s new centre for contemporary art. The project was completed in 2009, and inspired by the surrounding Lace Market and warehouses used in the 19th century. Caruso St John were also inspired by artist’s use of former warehouse spaces in New York during the 1960s, and attempted to recreate the feel of a former warehouse inside the art centre. The £20 million gallery has faced both praise and criticism for its design, and is one of the largest contemporary art centres in the UK. The green and gold building, built into a sandstone cliff, includes four galleries, a performance space, a film space, a study, a shop and a café. The fact that the building was built into a cliff gives it a certain uniqueness, in the sense that it is larger on the inside than it appears from the outside. Nottingham Contemporary was built on land on the oldest site in Nottingham, it ran £6 million over budget and despite criticisms, in 2010, managed to win a Royal Institute of British Architects Award for architectural excellence.
The V&A’s Museum of Childhood, located in Bethnal Green, was reopened in 2006 during modifications that lasted between the years 2002 to 2007. In previous years, the original building was dismantled and rebuilt with a new façades, but a lack of funding meant that the architect’s full plans for the museum were never carried out, leaving the building without a proper entrance and required front-of-house facilities. In 2002 Caruso St John embarked on a renovating project, which saw its first phase of improvements in 2003. During this phase, the roof and ceiling were renovated, opening up the main hall and creating a stylish new entrance, while a new gallery dedicated to displaying artwork was placed in the foyer. In 2006, the second phase of the renovations was completed with new collection displays, a new learning centre and a new entrance across the front façade of the building. The new learning centre has doubled the capacity for school groups and created a designated space for arts and crafts workshops. These developments have been seen as an essential for its priority audiences of schools and community groups.
The Newport Street Gallery located in London’s Vauxhall and facing Waterloo station, was completed for artist Damien Hirst and recently opened in 2015. The project has extended a terrace of listed industrial buildings that were built in 1913 and used to make scenery paintings for West End theatres in the 1920s. In the development of this project, Caruso St John added two new additional buildings to the three buildings already on the site to create a gallery that spans half the length of the street. The additional buildings were placed on either end of the three listed Victorian buildings and made with hard pale red brick that closely matches the surface of the listed buildings. The ground and upper floors within the five buildings are continuous, and connected by new spiral staircases and a large lift, allowing them to house both large and small exhibitions. The £25 million addition will be used by Hirst to display his extensive collection of contemporary art, and open to the public for free.
Gagosian Gallery Grosvenor Hill was the second project to be completed by Caruso St John in London during 2015. The 18,000 square feet gallery is placed in the heart of Mayfair and is the third gallery to have been created for Larry Gagosian in London. This is Caruso St John’s seventh collaboration with the American art dealer, and possibly Gagosian’s most ambitious project to date. The building is unusually large for its location, with the main gallery spaces each reaching 18 metres in length and 4.8 metres in height. The interior designs feature two double-height gallery spaces and two smaller connecting areas, with large openings in between to give Gagosian the flexibility to show a range of different works. Each room is lit with a large central glass ceiling and dark oak blocks were chosen to lay the floor. The gallery will be used to show some of the artist’s previously unseen paintings, sculptures and works on paper, while also exhibiting other, more familiar collections.