Structure studio Witherford Watson Mann balanced “studious conservation and daring intervention” for its redevelopment of the historic Courtauld Institute of Artwork in London.
Considered one of six initiatives shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2023, the three-year venture to replace The Courtauld Gallery accomplished on the finish of 2021 and marks the primary section of a wider scheme reworking the Grade I-listed Somerset Home complicated.
Supported by £11 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the transformation programme seeked to open up each spatially and culturally the “idiosyncratic” web site that has been its residence because the Nineties.
Former Stirling Prize winners Witherford Watson Mann sought to make clear the constructing’s areas and circulation whereas sustaining its historic character, combining extra delicate modifications within the galleries with quite a lot of extra in depth alterations.
“[In the galleries], many could battle to determine particularly what has modified: and but there was barely a room, door, flooring or cable that was not altered,” mentioned director Stephen Witherford.
“The venture preserves the establishment’s wealthy previous while securing its future.”
Bettering the accessibility and arrival sequence into the gallery was a precedence, and its most important entrance off the Strand now incorporates a ramp created by each re-using and matching the prevailing stone paving.
Earlier gallery rooms had been cleared to create a bigger reception space, the place a brand new stone staircase and elevate present clear circulation between flooring.
Beneath the constructing, a sequence of brick vaults beforehand inaccessible to the general public have been minimize by means of with a sequence of concrete-framed openings, offering a completely new approach to traverse the positioning.
At the moment residence to the gallery’s store, these vaults will finally kind a connection by means of to the Courtauld Institute’s scholar areas, that are to be upgraded in the course of the wider venture’s second section.
Above, alongside gallery areas for the Courtauld’s everlasting assortment, new areas had been created for non permanent exhibitions, in addition to a studying studio for households and younger folks, a lecture room and an object lecture room.
On the highest flooring is the skylit Nice Room – London’s oldest purpose-built exhibition area – the place earlier subdivisions have been stripped away to revive its authentic nature as a dramatic, single area.
In the entire gallery areas, the insertion of latest ducting, air flow grilles and lighting has improved the constructing’s environmental efficiency, in addition to circumstances for each the artworks and guests.
“The bodily alterations at the moment are starting to assist a change of tradition,” says Wilford.
“Customer variety has elevated, together with customer numbers; faculty teams are making full use of the primary onsite studying centre; and scholar initiatives and wider partnerships are reshaping the programme.”
“Altering buildings doesn’t change establishments by itself, however it could assist their democratisation,” he added.
Witherford Watson Mann beforehand gained the Stirling Prize in 2013 for his or her refurbishment of Astley Citadel, which additionally concerned the cautious reconfiguration of a historic constructed cloth.
The images is by Philip Vile.