Adam Caruso and Peter St John, who established their practice in 1990, will celebrate the 25th anniversary of Caruso St John Architects this autumn with the completion of three major cultural projects in the UK:
Liverpool Philharmonic Hall – opening 10 October 2015
Caruso St John have completed the refurbishment and extension of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall. The grade II* listed concert hall was built in 1939 by leading Liverpool architect Herbert Rowse in an Art Deco manner, strongly influenced by the contemporary work of Dutch architect WM Dudok. The architects have approached the project as three interrelated parts. In the front of house spaces, they have lightly restored the existing sequence of public rooms and made discrete interventions that address functional shortcomings, bringing a renewed freshness and colour to the interiors of the Hall. The auditorium and stage areas required more substantial measures to tackle inadequacies. Here, stage machinery, house and production lighting and environmental services have been completely replaced within the existing interior architecture. The back stage facilities and offices have been the most radically changed with a new rear extension containing a second, adaptable performance space behind a Deco-inspired scalloped panel exterior that relates back to Rowse’s details.
Newport Street Gallery, London – opening 8 October 2015
Newport Street Gallery is the realisation of Damien Hirst’s long-standing ambition to share his collection of over 3,000 artworks with the public. Spanning five buildings, the gallery has been under construction for more than three years and is situated close to the Thames in Vauxhall, a short walk from Tate Britain. The building is 37,000 square feet and includes galleries, offices, a restaurant and shop. Its construction has involved the conversion of three historic buildings that were purpose-built in 1913 to serve as scenery painting studios for the booming local and West End theatre industries. Two new additional buildings have been constructed at either end of the existing three listed structures, creating a gallery that runs half the length of the street. One of the central galleries has a height of 11 metres and the roof of the tallest building has been specifically designed to allow for the installation of large sculptures. Visitors circulate between the two gallery floors via a series of spiral staircases with walls of white engineering brick.
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, London – opening 10 October 2015
Caruso St John have created a 18,000 square feet gallery for Gagosian at 20 Grosvenor Hill in the heart of Mayfair. The new gallery is Gagosian’s third in London and its most ambitious to date. The architects previously designed Gagosian Britannia Street, Gagosian Davies Street as well as Gagosian galleries in Rome, Paris and Hong Kong. The advent of Gagosian Grosvenor Hill in this part of Mayfair builds on the artistic heritage of the area, which has been long associated with art and antique dealers and international auction houses. A 20-year lease has been agreed between landholder Grosvenor Estates and Gagosian for the development. For Gagosian, the gallery provides a perfect central location; for Grosvenor, it creates synergies with a distinguished gallery of global standing with which to continue its strategic development of this historic area.
The architects are also the designers of the exhibition, Palladian Design; The Good, The Bad and the Unexpected at the RIBA from 9 September 2015 – 9 January 2016 which introduces Palladio’s design principles and explores how they have been interpreted, copied and re-imagined across time and continents from his death in 1580 right up to the present day.
Adam Caruso and Peter St John have gained an international reputation for excellence in designing contemporary projects often in sensitive and historic environments. The practice came to public attention with the New Art Gallery in Walsall, a commission won in an international competition in 1995. From these origins in the visual arts, where a sensitivity to the visitor’s experience and to context is required, the practice has extended its expertise and now works across Europe on a broad range of projects in the public and private realms. Recent clients include Tate Britain, the City of Lille, Bremer Landesbank and the SBB (Swiss National Railways). Caruso St John has assembled a wide range of work at a variety of scales and seeks to resist the trend of increased size and specialisation that dominates contemporary architecture.
The practice is interested in the emotional potential and physical qualities of construction. This attitude has developed out of a fascination for materials, backed up with an involvement in academic and office based research. Built projects incorporate this research and respond to their physical context and brief in unexpected ways. The projects stand out by resisting off-the-peg construction. Both the New Art Gallery, Walsall (2000) and the Brick House, London (2006) were short listed for the Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award
Adam Caruso and Peter St John are closely involved in the design of all projects, with one of the partners attending client meetings and leading the project together with an architect project leader. The practice is international in its outlook and in its make up, with many of the staff, including the partners, involved in teaching in schools of architecture. The office of approximately 25 work in an open studio in a 1930s factory building in East London which the practice converted to studio use for themselves. In 2010 a second office was opened by the practice in Zuric