The Sunday Painter Gallery

Sanchez Benton architects, London, 2017


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Ollie Hammick, Max Creasy, Luca Bosco     Download Original

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The transformation of a burnt down fried chicken shop and an off-licence into a contemporary art gallery.

The project questioned the ubiquitous acceptance of the non-referential white cube typology in commercial art galleries by proposing a relationship with the city beyond.

A series of four exhibition rooms, each with a different spatial character, are arranged sequentially, allowing simple curation of exhibitions. An internal window in the street level gallery looks down into the main double height space, connecting the beginning to the end of the journey.

The paving slabs of the South Lambeth Road have been continued into the main gallery, connecting the interior to its context and reinforcing its public nature. Looking out from the main gallery, a high-level picture window frames the Tate Public Library opposite, allowing art and street life to be confronted.

In response to the modest budget and constrained site, the works were reduced to those absolutely necessary for reframing each space. The simple removal of the off licence’s floor joist to create a double height gallery transformed the clients’ ability to display large works. Traces of its former use and structure were retained, whilst the central party wall that divided the two shops was respected and opened up only where required, allowing the rhythm and scale of street frontages to be maintained.

Detailing throughout the project remained simple and direct, and in turn efforts were focused on creating subtle spatial connections and clear thresholds. Faced fixed lighting conduits and an elegant mild steel handrail unfold across the spaces disrupting the whiteness of the gallery rooms. In questioning the relationship between the gallery and the street, the scheme develops the idea of a public interior, notably explored by Tony Fretton at the Lisson Gallery, that simultaneously declares the space as an extension of the pavement and brings passers-by into the gaze of the gallery.


  • Begun: Jul 2017
  • Completed: Sep 2017
  • Floor area: 157m2
  • Sector: Arts and culture
  • Total cost: £80,000
  • Funding: Private client
  • Tender date: May 2017
  • Procurement: JCT Minor Works 2011
  • Address: 117-119 South Lambeth Road, London, SW8 1XA, United Kingdom

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