Heong Gallery, Downing College
Cambridge, United Kingdom 2013–2016
Client: Downing College Developments Grade I listed setting
This project for a new gallery at Downing College in Cambridge, is Caruso St John’s most recent project for the College. The gallery is located close to the campus entrance gates, forming part of a new court that has transformed a complex and unsatisfactory situation at the College entrance. With the reorganisation of the entrance to Parker’s House student accommodation, a previously private service yard has become a new public space, First Court, whilst a modest maintenance building has been converted into a new public art gallery, the Heong Gallery.
The entrances to the two buildings are framed by generous glazed screens that are made in oak, and each foyer has a lot of natural light and is furnished. The intimate outdoor space is carefully enclosed by a low wall, made with reclaimed Cambridge stock bricks, and is paved in Roman concrete that turns up at its edges to form a continuous seat. With its oak benches and trees—exotic versions of indigenous species—First Court is a place not just for passing through, but also for lingering and even for celebrations, such as an opening at the Gallery, or Shakespeare plays in the East Lodge Garden.
The design for the gallery and its adjacent spaces makes reference to the qualities of Kettle’s Yard. The transformation of Jim Ede’s old house illustrates the possibility of a modest structure coexisting with the grand architecture of the Colleges, and housing a space where study, conversation and art naturally come together. The intention has been to make a place that is equally comfortable for people, as it is for art.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
15th March to 29th August 2022
The Heong Gallery at Downing College opens its new exhibition, Hockney's Eye: The Art and Technology of Depiction on the 15th of March 2022. The gallery designed by Caruso St John will host the contemporary artist's pioneering experiments in bringing the hand, eye, and optical instrument together inventively.
To celebrate its anniversary, the Heong Gallery has created a video looking back at the five years since its transformation from an Edwardian stable block into a public gallery showing modern and contemporary art.
Heong Gallery, Cambridge, United Kingdom
4 November 2017 - 6 February 2018
Caruso St John have designed an exhibition of the work of Dame Elizabeth Frink for the Heong Gallery at Downing College, Cambridge. Frink's archetypal bronzes are on show alongside multiple bird figures, small figure groups, drawings and prints.
Caruso St John's projects for the Heong Gallery at Downing College, Cambridge, and the refurbishment and extension of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall have won RIBA Awards.
The Heong Gallery, Downing College, Cambridge
6 February 2016
The new art gallery designed by Caruso St John for Downing College opens to the public on 6th February 2016. The gallery will open with an exhibition of British Art from the Collection of Sir Alan Bowness, former Director of Tate and an alumnus of Downing College
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Downing College Developments
Grade I listed setting
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John
Timo Keller (2013-15), Paul Maich (2015-16)
Catija Christensson, Will Pirkis
Philip Harvey Associates Ltd
Robert Lombardelli Partnership Ltd
Studio Karst GmbH
John Morgan Studio
RIBA East Award