Assemble Wellcome Collection success

Practice who co-lead Architecture Unit 15 at The Cass to design new gallery for world famous museum

Date: 01 March 2019

Assemble, the Turner-prize winning multi-disciplinary collective who co-lead Unit 15 at The Cass, will design a new first-floor exhibition space at the Wellcome Collection. The new gallery dedicated to "what it means to be human in the 21st century" will open in September 2019.

The Wellcome Collection explores the interfaces of architecture, art, and medicine. The new Assemble-designed gallery will replace the collection's 'Medicine Now' display, which opened twelve years ago.

The new gallery space will feature a variety of exhibits including a jukebox of contemporary songs about epidemics, a DNA sequencer, and a so-called Friendship Bench, used in Zimbabwe to provide mental health counselling.

"It’s fantastic to be involved in the design of a new gallery at the Wellcome Collection," said Joe Halligan of Assemble. “We’re going to use natural materials, colour and inclusive design to create a humane and uplifting space where challenging conversations can happen, and where a wide variety of different visitors feel welcomed. The permanent exhibition will tackle some of the most critical subjects of our times, questioning what it means to be human today.”

“There is no single way to be human and we have many complex thoughts and feelings about our bodies, our identities and our impact on the world and on each other,” said Clare Barlow, the project curator at the Wellcome Collection. “The objects we’re bringing together in this new display will explore a wide range of perspectives - artists, activists, researchers, disabled people and people with diverse experiences of health.”
 
The aim of the gallery is to explore challenging questions around difference, stigma, and how people can feel emotionally engaged in global challenges of our time, such as climate change and infectious disease. It will feature new commissions and significant artworks from well-known and emerging contemporary artists.  
 
The Wellcome Collection opened in 2007 on London’s Euston Road. A 2015 project saw the redevelopment of the venue’s reading room, additional temporary exhibition space and improved visitor facilities. 
 
Assemble won the Turner Prize in 2015 for a network of neighbourhood projects created in collaboration with the residents of Granby, Liverpool. More recently it converted former industrial spaces into the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, which opened in September 2018.