South London Gallery opens Fire Station building renovated by 6a

Renovated interior of fire station with large white painted doors
The exhibition space inside South London Gallery’s Fire Station space renovated by London-based architecture studio 6a
(Image credit: press)

London-based architecture studio 6a has renovated a Victorian Fire Station building and former sausage factory into a new gallery space for the South London Gallery (SLG) in Peckham. The extension, located just across the road from the main gallery, adds new exhibition rooms, a new archive, communal kitchen, education space and artist’s studio to the SLG family.

Slowly growing from its base at 65 Peckham Road, in reputation and size since the 19th century, the SLG has blossomed over the years with numerous updates and expansions in typical London fashion – a conservatory extension in 2010; a Gabriel Orozco-designed garden and the Art Block for families and education in 2016; and now the Fire Station building at 82 Peckham Road.

Facade of the South London Gallery Fire Station building

The facade and entrance of the South London Gallery Fire Station

(Image credit: press)

The Fire Station dates from 1867 and was in operation until 1925, until Kennedy’s Sausages moved in. It received Grade II-listed status in 1991 as one of London’s earliest purpose built Fire Stations and as an example of original Victorian domestic Gothic architecture, yet its fate had been undecided until 2014 when an anonymous buyer donated it to the SLG. Director Margot Heller enlisted 6a to work on the renovation.

Central stairway painted white at the South London Gallery Fire Station

The central staircase painted white at the Fire Station

(Image credit: press)

Founded in 2001, the studio is behind one of London’s most beautiful art galleries – Alex Sainsbury’s Raven Row, a converted house dating back to the 18th century on Artillery Lane in Spitalfields with a fascinating history, as well as Juergen Teller’s West London studio complex, a discreet concrete facade that creatively melts into a low-rise residential neighbourhood near the Westway flyover – both examples of 6a’s ability to weave, patch and layer London’s characterful architecture with contemporary design and purpose.

At the heart of 6a’s charming renovation, which includes three floors of new spaces and a small back garden, a new white-painted grilled metal staircase brightens up the exposed brick and reflects light throughout the building from above.

Original floorboards have been tended to throughout and a loft space in the eaves opened up into an artist’s studio. The Fire Station hosts an opening group show titled ‘Knock Knock’ which celebrates the use of humour as a device in contemporary art featuring works by Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas and Ugo Rondinone.

South London Gallery's Fire Station facade

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White metal staircase

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Front facade of the renovated fire station

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Entrance Hallway space of the South London Gallery Fire Station

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Staircase at the Fire Station

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Exposed brickwork and brick flooring

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The upper floor staircase

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The kitchen at fire station

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The artists' studio loft

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Loft space

(Image credit: press)


For more information, visit the South London Gallery website and the 6a website


South London Gallery
65–67 Peckham Road 
London, SE5 8UH


Harriet Thorpe is a writer, journalist and editor covering architecture, design and culture, with particular interest in sustainability, 20th-century architecture and community. After studying History of Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and Journalism at City University in London, she developed her interest in architecture working at Wallpaper* magazine and today contributes to Wallpaper*, The World of Interiors and Icon magazine, amongst other titles. She is author of The Sustainable City (2022, Hoxton Mini Press), a book about sustainable architecture in London, and the Modern Cambridge Map (2023, Blue Crow Media), a map of 20th-century architecture in Cambridge, the city where she grew up.