The National Portrait Gallery, London, has revealed a first look at its £35.5m redevelopment plan. The Inspiring People project will include a new entrance, new public galleries and a new learning space.
Inspiring People will transform the museum into a less fragmented experience, and move the visitor experience front and centre. It will include a redisplay of the collection and refurbishment of the building.
Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nick Cullinan, said the plans would allow the gallery to showcase more of its collection and improve the visitor experience. While the project will create 20% more public space, the aim is to be “not bigger but better”.
New museum entrance and learning centre
The new entrance will be made by turning three windows into doorways, creating an accessible, step-free entrance. What was originally the east wing – used primarily for office space – will become the Weston Wing, roof-lit galleries on the first floor and a refurbished flexible gallery on the ground floor.
A new learning centre will also feature double-height rooms and an adjoining outside space.
Jamie Fobert Architects designed the plans. Fobert said he was “particularly happy to be able to reconsider the public area to the north of the gallery and transform it into a new public space for London”.
£27.4m has been secured of a targeted £35.5m – which includes support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Garfield Weston Foundation. A public fundraising campaign allows supporters to sponsor new mosaics or adopt one of 18 stone roundels outside the building.
Work will begin in summer 2020 and take around two and a half years to complete.
Image courtesy Jamie Fobert Architects