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Hopkins set to design Royal Academy extension

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Michael Hopkins and Partners or Eric Parry Architects will be formally chosen this week to draw up a feasibility study for converting a museum for the Royal Academy of Arts. Hopkins is tipped for the job

Both were shortlisted for the job to look at turning Burlington Gardens, behind the ra, into an academy extension which may house an architecture gallery. 'The project will cost at least £10 million and maybe many millions more,' said an RA spokeswoman. The building is being vacated by the Museum of Mankind in 2000 and work would start then.

'The winner will look at whether or not we connect the two buildings. One of the ideas is to have an architecture gallery. There is a feeling we do not have enough space to promote architecture. Plenty of Royal Academicians are architects, such as Sir Norman Foster and Lord Rogers.'

This will be the third phase of a redevelopment for the academy. Michael Hopkins and Partners is already working on the second, a redesign of the courtyard.

York stone, Portland stone and gravel will lead up to the entrance of Burlington House. The portico and stone arches will be refurbished, ramps will be built into the entrance and a statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds will be relocated within the courtyard. One of the designers, Mike Taylor, said the cost of the project would be around £1 million and it aimed to rid the area of cars. Planning permission was granted last month and the ra is looking at funding, said Taylor.

The architects, who are also designing entrance desks for the foyer, must wait for the go-ahead despite a £4.1 million lottery award to the academy last week. The Heritage Lottery grant will pay for the first phase including restoration of the main galleries.

Jez Abbott

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