Freelancers makeover The Photographers’ Gallery

Freelance architects have been hired to design and build a new home for London’s Photographers’ Gallery, with a brief that the Gallery becomes the ‘eyes, ears and voice for UK photography.’

Dublin-based O’Donnell & Tuomey intend to build on the 35-year history of the Gallery by offering design ideas that will allow it to develop into a world-class centre for photography.

Brett Rogers, director of the Gallery, wants the new site in London’s Soho district to be built and designed so photography can be exhibited and sold to a wider yet “more sophisticated” audience.

The Galley’s purpose-built home – at 16–18 Ramillies Street - marks the second leg of a three-year project that is backed by The Arts Council, which has pledged £3.5m so Rogers can achieve his vision.

He said his offer for a consultancy to give a face lift to the Gallery caused an influx of submissions from a range of designers, including well-established architects and their emerging peers.

But he noted how O’Donnell and Tuomey beat of the strong competition, in part, because of their sensitive handling of materials and intelligent response to place.

“We are delighted that the Dublin-based practice O’Donnell & Tuomey has been selected to create our new purpose-built gallery, within the heart of London’s Soho district; a space that truly reflects the Gallery’s aspiration to become the ‘eyes, ears and voice for photography’
within the UK,” Rogers said.

“O’Donnell + Tuomey has the capacity to deliver a building of exceptional quality and character that will contribute a new cultural focus to this thriving part of Soho and ensure London finally gets the dedicated international centre for photography it so richly deserves.’

Sarah Weir, executive director of the Arts Council, said the independent body was ”extremely pleased” to be supporting The Photographers' Gallery in the development of an “exciting” new venue.

“O'Donnell + Tuomey has an excellent track record of designing world-class cultural institutions and we are certain that the resulting building will be a distinctive addition to London's artistic landscape,” she said.


28th July 2006

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