Unlocking spaces; Science Gallery London

Journal

Given the critical dialogue around public space privatisation in recent years, we feel fortunate to have worked on a project at the opposite end of that spectrum.

King’s College in the redevelopment of their London Bridge campus are introducing Guy’s courtyard and Grade II* listed Boland House to the public for the first time.

Originally built circa 1800 the Georgian complex of buildings have a fascinating history in their service to historic Guy’s Hospital. The institution established in 1721 by philanthropist Thomas Guy sought to treat ‘incurables’ and has since it’s inception been at the heart of medical research and education in London.

Set against this impressive heritage is the introduction of a new permanent cultural venue – Science Gallery London and the return of Guy’s Courtyard back into public realm. It’s a significant shift, the unlocking of private realm by King’s College London and it marks a change in the approach that educational institutes are taking in order to engage with a broader audience.

University research does not always garner much interest amongst the general public, yet in an attempt to revolutionise Science Gallery London represents an innovative approach to engagement, opening up a dialogue rather than merely broadcasting information. Given that access is also free it’s an approach in which the community reaps the greatest benefit.

For us this project marks the end of a fascinating eight year design process and as the eve of it’s opening approaches – September 21, we’re eager to see how, given the very public collision of art and science that’s set to take place, it might come to transform the cultural landscape of the city.

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