Science Gallery London celebrates ‘breaking ground’ by creating a collaborative spit crystal

On 13 April, Science Gallery London hosted an unusual take on a 'ground-breaking' event to mark the start of building work at Boland House.

Guests and staff from Science Gallery London swapped hard hats and shovels for... saliva. Artist Inés Cámara Leret, a forthcoming Science Gallery London collaborator, invited guests to donate a spit sample in an experiment to create a ‘collective spit crystal’. Despite it nowadays being regarded as vulgar, spitting has traditionally been regarded as a symbolic act to wish a new venture good luck or success. It is hoped that the spit donated at the event will create a giant crystal that can be displayed during Science Gallery London’s next pre-opening season, MOUTHY, which begins in July. You can monitor the progress of the collaborative spit crystal over the coming weeks on Science Gallery London’s Instagram.

Also at the ground-breaking event, LTS Architects, who helped design the new gallery, showed guests a series of visualisations of what Science Gallery London’s will look like. See LTS Architects’ plans.

The Gallery will be created within Boland House, part of the historic 18th century Guy’s Hospital in London Bridge, located directly opposite The Shard. The site is at the entrance to the King’s College London Guy’s Campus and incorporates a Georgian courtyard, which will be converted from a car park into a newly-landscaped public square as part of the build.

Science Gallery London will have exhibition, studio and performance spaces, a flexible theatre space, as well as a café overlooking and extending onto the courtyard.

The McDonald’s, which was previously housed within Boland House from 1992, closed earlier this year and similarly the courtyard has ceased to function as a car park to make way for the development project. The King’s College London Student Union are relocating their activity rooms and offices to newly developed and much improved spaces in the inner quads on the Guy’s Campus, thereby releasing the full site for development into Science Gallery London. Planning permission to create Science Gallery London was granted by Southwark Council in December 2015 after an extensive period of public consultation.

Daniel Glaser, Director, Science Gallery London with KCLSU officers Sophia, Nadine, Rachel and Joe.

During the remainder of 2016 the building project will consist of enabling works to create new structural openings to the building, as well as a general strip out and piling to dig down and create space for the theatre. The building fit-out will be completed during the first half of 2017, and landscaping of the Courtyard will take place during spring/summer 2017. Science Gallery London is due to open to the public in autumn 2017.

Tim Henbrey, Head of Project Delivery said, ‘We are incredibly excited to begin the building project to create Science Gallery London in this amazingly central site at the heart of London Bridge. Thanks to the generous support of our capital funders, the Gallery will provide fantastic new opportunities to connect young adults, researchers, artists and the local communities with science, art and innovation and we can’t wait to get going!”

Science Gallery London virtual reality flythrough.

Deborah Bull, Assistant Principal (London), speaking about the ground-breaking event, said ‘It was a real honour to be present at the start of building work to create Science Gallery London. We are creating a new space that will generate unique interactions between King’s College London and the communities around it - a free-to-visit cultural venue and attraction that specifically looks at the needs and interests of 15-25 year olds and draws on diverse research and innovative thinking from across the university.’