Royal Academy 250th anniversary redevelopment

The Royal Academy of Arts has unveiled plans for a major £50million redevelopment of their buildings to be completed in time for their 250th anniversary in 2018. The designs, by internationally acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA, will link Burlington House and Burlington Gardens for the first time, uniting the two-acre site.

The Royal Academy’s north-facing Entrance, Burlington Gardens in 2018. 
Image credit: Hayes Davidson

In addition to the £12.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project has also received generous support from a number of private individuals as well as trusts and foundations including The Monument Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation amongst several others. The Lord Davies of Abersoch CBE, Chairman of the Royal Academy Trust, said: “The Royal Academy is an independent charity. Unlike most of our peers we do not receive revenue funding from government and so are completely reliant upon the generosity of others to continue what we do.”

New public areas will be created including:
·         Spaces for exhibitions and displays across the site to show the depth of the historic RA Collections, and allowing many works to be brought out of storage.
·         Dedicated exhibition galleries for contemporary art projects and new work by Royal Academicians, Britain’s leading artists and architects.
·         A double-height lecture theatre with over 260 seats, building on the Academy’s heritage of  debate and allowing the volume of programming to double.
·         A new Clore Learning Centre, providing space for the RA’s ambitious learning programmes, enabling participation in creative learning on-site to expand three-fold.
·         New spaces for the RA Schools, including a permanent project space for the public display of work by students, situated at the heart of the site. The integration of the Schools into the visitors’ experience will reveal the Academy’s important role in arts education and its long tradition of training artists.
·         A link bridge connecting Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, creating a central route from Piccadilly to Mayfair.

The redevelopment will also provide significant improvements to visitors’ facilities across the site and will conserve the façade of Burlington Gardens, one of the grandest unrestored buildings in central London.

Sir David Chipperfeld CBE RA, Architect, said: “The project is an architectural solution embedded in the place itself, a series of subtle interventions which will add up to something very different. The big change is that the Royal Academy will have two entrances; a front door facing Piccadilly in the south and a new front door to Burlington Gardens, Cork Street and Bond Street. You will be able to go from an exhibition in Burlington House to a lecture in Burlington Gardens through the vaults of the building. You will see the cast corridors, you will see where the Schools have been all this time. It’s a small amount of architecture for a profound result.”

If you would like to learn more about the architectural history of the Royal Academy’s buildings and its plans for the future there will be a new free exhibition opening at the RA on the 20th May.

Stories from the Past – Visions of the Future: The Royal Academy and its Buildings
The Architecture Space,
Burlington House
20th May – 20th September 2015
10am – 6pm daily (until 10pm on Fridays)

Marking the moment the Royal Academy embarks on the most significant transformation of its home for nearly 150 years, this exhibition explores the past and future of the RA’s buildings, home to four centuries of architectural history. From distant beginnings as a town-palace on the edge of London, Victorian transformations with the arrival of the Royal Academy, and the construction of Burlington Gardens, to the twentieth and twenty-first century interventions of the Sackler Wing of Galleries and the Keeper’s House.

Admission: FREE

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