An artist impression of the redeveloped Royal Academy

Royal Academy unveils redevelopment plan

Simon Stephens, 12.05.2015
David Chipperfield-designed scheme will be finished in 2018
The Royal Academy of Arts (RA) has revealed a £49.8m redevelopment plan that will be completed in time for the London institution’s 250th anniversary in 2018.

The scheme, by David Chipperfield Architects, will link Burlington House and Burlington Gardens for the first time. It will create new galleries and exhibition areas, a 260-seat theatre, a Clore Learning Centre and spaces for the academy’s school of art.

The RA has 46,000 objects in its collections but since 1939 has had only one room, the Tennant Gallery, to show these.

“The physical transformation of the site will fundamentally change our 247-year old institution,” said Charles Saumarez Smith, the RA’s secretary and chief executive.

“We are, first and foremost, artist-led, home to a community of the world’s greatest artists and architects, and a centre for the training of emerging artists, with practitioners and an art school at our heart. This is not just a major building development, it is an undertaking which will transform the psychological, as well as the physical, nature of the academy.”

The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided £12.7m for the scheme. Other funders include the Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, Clore Duffield Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Foyle Foundation.

The RA receives no revenue funding from government and instead uses income from exhibitions and trading activities, as well as the support of corporate sponsors, donors, patrons and the Friends of the Royal Academy.

David Chipperfield Architects’ previous museum and gallery designs include the Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire, Turner Contemporary in Margate and the he Neues Museum in Berlin.