The courtyard adds a sense of repose
Caruso St John Architects for Downing College
Contract value: Confidential
An area of Downing College has been transformed into the understated but elegant Heong Gallery with a well-detailed forecourt. The building consists of a foyer and gallery, housed in a former maintenance building. The gallery has one central roof light orientated to the north east but treated symmetrically. One generous window frames the views onto the adjacent garden – otherwise the space is left for hanging pictures. Timber panelling and plaster is used while a floor of black encaustic tiles unites the rooms. The interior has the same domestic feel as Jim Ede’s Kettle’s Yard which the architect alludes to.
This is reinforced by a well-placed fireplace, reclaimed from the original building, creating a domesticity which contrasts with some of the more magisterial buildings in the gallery’s proximity. The approach has been taken through to the external treatment and detailing of benches and cast aluminium rain canopy. The courtyard adds a sense of repose, making a small but important enhancement to Downing College.