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First look at Chipperfield's Margate gallery

David Chipperfield Architects has released the first images of the replacement for Snøhetta and Spence Associates' doomed Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate.

Unlike the previous pebble-like scheme which was to be built off the harbour wall, the new three-storey competition winning gallery will sit on the former 'Rendezvous' car park site between the seafront and the old town.

Project backer Kent County Council hopes Chipperfield's much-anticipated scheme will not go the way of the previous proposals which were dramatically ditched after costs spiralled to almost £50 million.

To avoid some of the difficulties encountered with Snøhetta and Spence's scheme, the new 20m-high building is to be raised on a terrace to protect it from the unforgiving English Channel.

This terrace will also serve as an outdoor seating space for the café.

The top floor of the new building will be 'entirely dedicated to gallery space' while other areas will house education spaces - including a gallery for showing work made by young people, a multi-function space capable of seating up to 80 people, and a reception area with a shop, café and toilets.

David Chipperfield said: 'We are very excited about the designs. The challenge has been to create a building that responds to the opportunities of the site.

'We are confident that this design makes the most of the site's potential and remains sensitive to its unique setting.'

The new scheme, which has already edged up in price by £2.4 million to £17.4 million since first mooted last year, is expected to go in for planning later this summer and is due to open its doors in 2010.

by Richard Waite

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