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Harrap lands V&A Cast Courts revamp

Julian Harrap Architects (JHA) has won a competition to renovate the Cast Courts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington, west London

Built in 1873, the triple-height General Henry Scott-designed Cast Courts features a 5.5 metre cast of Michelangelo’s David and a full-scale model of Trajan’s Column split in two.

Harraps will repair a damaged roof and restore the galleries’ tiled floor and original Victorian decoration. The studio also aims to open up some of the courts’ blocked archways to create new ‘vistas’ through the space.

Julian Harrap said: ‘We are delighted to have been chosen as the lead consultant for the refurbishment of the V&A’s Cast Courts.

‘These 19th-century courts are beautiful architectural spaces in their own right which deserve to be brought back to their original splendour. When completed, they will provide a wonderful setting for the V&A’s renowned collection of casts.’

Moira Gemmill, V&A’s director of projects, design and estate, added: ‘Collecting replicas of famous sculptures and monuments was a 19th-century phenomenon and the real challenge in refurbishing the Cast Courts is to bring them up to the standards of the 21st Century while retaining their Victorian charm.

‘We want to restore and enhance the original architectural features of the Cast Courts and modernise the displays. There was a real affinity between Julian Harrap Architects’ proposal and our own aims. JHA have become renowned for their sensitive approach to restoring historic buildings and we are confident we have chosen the right partner for this exciting project.’

The refurbished gallery will open to the public in late 2012.

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