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John Miller secures £2.2m Tate research centre contract

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John Miller + Partners has reaffirmed its position as Tate Britain's house architect with the announcement last week that it will design a £2.2 million research centre for the gallery.

The Tate library and archive building, to be open by spring 2002, fulfils the gallery's long-term commitment to increase public access to its research material.

Construction of the architect's centenary development design at Tate Britain is currently nearing completion. With work on the new archive and library due to start this month, the practice will have two designs come to life concurrently at the gallery.

The 1,330m 2archive and library will be constructed in an area on the lower ground floor of Tate Britain once used to store works of art. The space has become available as a result of the relocation of art storage to the new Tate Store in Southwark. The archive will be accessed from the new Atterbury Street entrance, which will open as part of the centenary development in November.

A spokesman for the gallery said the library and archive building would provide storage in secure and improved environmental conditions.

He said it would include two reading rooms boasting more than 40 places for readers.

The new centre, funded by a donation from the Kreitman Foundation, will allow Tate Britain's library and archive collections to be brought together alongside the new reading rooms, the spokesman said.

The library specializes in British fine art from the Renaissance to the present day and international modern art. It is the pre-eminent UK collection in the field of contemporary art, with collections of more than 120,000 art exhibition catalogues and special collections, such as Artists' Bookworks.

The spokesman said the Tate had always made these collections available to the public, but restrictions on space had limited access.

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