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Rivington Place Visual Arts Cultural Centre

Adjaye Associates

Rivington Place Visual Arts Cultural Centre
By Lucy Bullivant -

Rivington Place, the recently opened cultural centre in east London, is the first new visual arts building to be built in London with public funding for 40 years. It also carries major significance for its architect, David Adjaye, being his first completed arts building.
The new 1445 m2 centre is home to two exceptional arts organisations, Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts) and Autograph ABP, the photographic agency. Five years ago the two bodies formed a strategic alliance to make a permanent public centre for themselves, led by their dynamic vice-chair, the cultural theorist Stuart Hall.
Shoreditch is an historic conservation area of east London where in recent years many designers and artists have set up studios, and Rivington Place is a natural addition to its landscape of art institutions including the nearby White Cube Gallery, Whitechapel Art Gallery and Geffrye Museum. Narrow streets with warehouse buildings still bear strong traces of an industrial past; new shops, bars, clubs like Cargo and the Comedy Club (on Rivington Street), gallery spaces, an art bookshop, design showrooms and restaurants, have added a breath of fresh air.
Now a new building further reinforces the area’s identity as a cultural destination. It incorporates a mix of spaces, including a large project space with floor to ceiling windows on the ground floor visible from the street, a small (50 m2) café at the rear of Rivington Place, a downbeat cul de sac, three workspaces for use by people from the cultural industries and studio spaces, the compact Stuart Hall Library and offices for 20 staff. The gallery’s doors fully retract, assisting a variety of activities: site-specific commissions, photographs and installations including sculpture and multimedia works, and film screenings and talks can be held here as well as in the other studio spaces. The impression is of a good fit between architectural language and spatial solutions, not flashy, precious or dull,...

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