London studio Trevor Horne Architects has completed a gallery and apartment building on the site of the former Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, featuring folded brickwalls topped with a glazed events space.
The building on Tyers Street is the first permanent location for Cabinet Gallery, which was founded in Brixton in 1991 but had previously been operating from premises in the city’s Old Street area.
The gallery’s directors Martin McGeown and Andrew Wheatley and architect Trevor Horne had been looking for a suitable gallery space for almost a decade, before eventually discovering the site in the park near Vauxhall underground station.
Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens was established in the 17th century as a suburban venue for public entertainment and remained as such until the mid-19th century, during which time it was absorbed into the growing metropolis.
Now greatly reduced in size, the gardens are still used to host events and festivals, as well as providing a green space bordered by roads and railways lines.
With backing from London-based arts patron Charles Asprey, the gallerists approached local charity the Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and Lambeth Council with a proposal to redevelop the site of the demolished Lord Clyde Pub.
The site was also one of the original entrances to the Pleasure Gardens, and the architects wanted to reinstate this function by creating a landmark surrounded by public space that welcomes visitors.
“As architects our first instinct was to make a gesture to the park and bring people in,” Horne told Dezeen. “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 building’s folded form was informed by research into the structures that previously occupied the park, as well as in-depth discussions with the clients regarding their specific needs.
“We were trying to pick up from the pavilions that were once in the Pleasure Gardens,” Horne explained. “We also explored with the gallerists what sort of space would suit them and allow them to curate a number of different exhibitions, so the folded shape came about from these discussions.”
The 12-sided plan creates more surfaces inside the gallery space on the ground floor, which is accessible from an entrance facing Tyers Street.
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