Thursday 1 February 2018

The National Portrait Gallery has appointed Jamie Fobert Architects to lead its £35.5m transformation following an international selection process, it was announced today, Thursday 1 February 2018.

The London-based practice will deliver the Gallery’s biggest ever development since the building opened in 1896. This includes creating around twenty per cent more public and gallery spaces, all of which will be refurbished and rehung for the first time, enhancing its entrance and creating a state-of-the-art Learning Centre.  

Jamie Fobert Architects’ recent and forthcoming projects include the critically acclaimed extension to Tate St Ives in Cornwall, a new gallery building for Charleston in East Sussex and an extension and reconfiguration of Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery in Cambridge.

Building work on the project, Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery, is scheduled to start in 2020. For the first time in the Gallery’s history there will be a comprehensive re-display of the Collection across all the galleries accompanied by the Gallery’s most extensive programme of activities nationwide.

The Gallery has already embarked on its fundraising and has now secured £21.2m, 60% of its £35.5m fundraising target. With the Heritage Lottery Fund’s support of £9.4m, which includes an initial development grant of £900,000, the Gallery aims to reach its target of £35.5m by March 2019 in order to complete the project by 2022. 

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘We are delighted to have chosen Jamie Fobert Architects to work with us on transforming the National Portrait Gallery. We were impressed by Jamie’s evident love of the Gallery, its Collection and building, and the clear vision he had for how to make the most of these for our visitors, as well as his affinity with art and artists. Following his much lauded work at Tate St Ives, and forthcoming projects such as Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, this is the perfect time to work with Jamie as we take the National Portrait Gallery into one of the most exciting chapters in its history.’ 

David Ross, Chair of Trustees, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘On behalf of all our Trustees, we are delighted to endorse the decision to appoint Jamie Fobert Architects for our Inspiring People project. Jamie and his team have already shown an insightful and creative understanding of what we would like to achieve going forward and I am confident that they will be excellent partners to work with at this significant moment for the National Portrait Gallery.’

Jamie Fobert, of Jamie Fobert Architects, says: ‘Housed in a handsome Victorian building, The National Portrait Gallery plays a unique and important role in the cultural life of our nation, charting our past and engaging with the present. I am thrilled to be taking on this project, which will unify the collection and enhance the Gallery’s presence in the city. I am looking forward to working together with the National Portrait Gallery’s dynamic team and our partners Purcell, Max Fordham and Price & Myers.’  

Established in 1996, Jamie Fobert Architects’ role in arts projects has continuously evolved. Early projects included domestic spaces for artists including Antony Gormley and Christopher Le Brun, which led to exhibition design such as The Upright Figure in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and Out of the Ordinary at the V&A. They later designed galleries for clients including Frieze Art Fair, Pace and The Garage Museum of Contemporary Culture in Moscow and most recently have completed a major extension to Tate St Ives.

Residential projects have ranged from urban sites in central London to a farmhouse in rural Ireland and coastal residences in the South of France and Trinidad. They won the RIBA House of the Year Award in 2003 for Anderson House and in 2016 the BD Individual House Architect of the Year Award.

Their retail work has included international design concepts for Givenchy and Versace and extensive work for Selfridges. They designed a new stone floor for the historic Burlington Arcade and interiors and bespoke furnishings for a new department store inside the sixteenth-century Fondaco dei Tedeschi, by the Rialto Bridge in Venice.


Breakdown of funding
Total cost of project £35.5m

National Portrait Gallery, London

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and ... to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.

With over 1000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video. As well as the permanent displays, the Gallery has a diverse and ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms. @NPGLondon

Jamie Fobert Architects

Since its inception in 1996, Jamie Fobert Architects has established a reputation for innovative and inspiring architectural design. Our clients are diverse: from individual homeowners to major cultural organisations and international retailers. Yet we have demonstrated a consistent approach to resolving client ambitions and site complexities into a tactile architecture of volume, material and light.  We work through an intense and careful iterative design process. We endeavour to harness the response that we all instinctively have to materiality and form. We make architecture that is built with and around light. Our design is led by functionality, ease of use, and the sociability that architecture can foster. Our spaces are made to endure. We resolve even the most complex combination of existing elements into an architecture which in its totality feels singular: an architecture of beauty.

Multidisciplinary design team
Heritage Architect, Purcell
M&E Engineer, Max Fordham
Structural Engineer, Price & Myers

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  @heritagelottery.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported and #NationalLottery.

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