Sn°hetta and Spence was yesterday unveiled as the winner of the Turner Centre competition by Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.The competition to design the Margate gallery attracted more than 150 entries. The Anglo-Norwegian collaboration of Sn°hetta and Spence beat off competition from five other shortlisted practices - Benson and Forsyth, Haworth Tompkins Architects, Niall Mclaughlin Architect, Edward Cullinan Architects and Eric Parry Architects.
The 2,200m 2building will cost an estimated £7 million. The Arts Council of England has already agreed to commit £4.1 million to the project.
Stephen Spence, previously an associate director with the Richard Rogers Partnership, told the AJ he was delighted with the win and he believed the building would become a major landmark for the area. He added that he hoped the unusual position of the building would 'establish a good dialogue with the townà Its position makes it easily visible for visitors as they arrive in Margate. The dramatic approach to the gallery - along the pier - will allow visitors to experience the elements as they come towards the gallery and reflects Turner's interest in the sea, ' said Spence.
The gallery is split into two sections linked by a small bridge. One structure, containing the bookshop and restaurant, sits on the pier; the other seaward structure contains the gallery and sits on the rock seabed.
The competition was run by Kent County Council and Thanet District Council.Charles Findlay, chairman of the Turner Centre Steering Group, said of the award: 'It is an exciting event in the creation of a regional visual arts centre for the South East.The centre will be a key element in the regeneration of Margate Old Town and wider east Kent.'