Selldorf Architects to Rework Sainsbury Wing

John Hill
14. July 2021
Annabelle Selldorf (Photo 

The National Gallery has selected a team led by New York's Selldorf Architects to work on "a suite of capital projects," including a remodeling of the postmodern Sainsbury Wing on Trafalgar Square, that will mark the London institution's Bicentenary — "NG200" — in 2024.

The National Gallery's announcement of its NG200 plans and related search for a design team to lead the effort was announced in February of this year, with a clear a focus on improving the "welcome" it provides the millions of visitors to its Trafalgar Square home every year.

The NG200 Project competition was carried out by Malcolm Reading Consultants, which lists on its website that the team led by Selldorf Architects also includes Purcell, Vogt Landscape, Arup, AEA Consulting, Pentagram, Kaizen and Kendrick Hobbs. 

The winning team's "suite" of projects involves, in the initial phase: "remodeling parts of the Sainsbury Wing and the public realm, and the provision of a new Research Centre." The most newsworthy aspect of the project is the remodeling of the Sainsbury Wing, the 1991 addition designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. The wing has served as the main entrance to the whole National Gallery ensemble of buildings since 2018.

The Sainsbury Wing in 2006. (Photo: Richard George/Wikimedia Commons)

The team led by Selldorf Architects was selected over the five other shortlisted teams (Asif Khan, Caruso St John Architects, David Chipperfield Architects, David Kohn Architects, and Witherford Watson Mann Architects) no doubt because of the firm's experience with arts and cultural projects in historical buildings. These include the Clark Art Institute, the Neue Galerie New York, and the Frick Collection, among others.

Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said in a statement:
"Throughout the selection process, Selldorf Architects demonstrated a real understanding of our ambitions as well as sensitivity to the heritage of our existing buildings. [...] The capital projects form the first stage of our Bicentenary celebrations and are essential in building the foundations of the Gallery’s future. Working alongside Selldorf Architects, we will develop and deliver a detailed brief that will be the framework through which we consolidate our role as the nation’s gallery."

Annabelle Selldorf also said: 
"This is a significant opportunity for an iconic cultural institution to reflect on its ambitions for the future and drive forwards an innovative, bespoke brief that befits its many visitors. [...] Our team will work sensitively and thoughtfully with the National Gallery, guided by its vision for a Gallery of the future that is inspiring, sustainable, and truly inclusive."

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