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Avanti to overhaul and extend Chipperfield’s Turner Contemporary

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Avanti Architects has been chosen to reconfigure and expand David Chipperfield’s Turner Contemporary in Margate, Kent

Last November the Arts Council England (ACE) granted £3 million towards the overhaul of the gallery, kickstarting a proposed £6 million scheme to increase capacity at the seafront landmark.

According to the gallery, which is working on the project with Kent County Council (KCC), its increasing popularity was ’threatening to compromise the high-quality cultural offer, and the quality of the visitor experience’.

Turner Contemporary says the changes will make the building ‘more sustainable and provide an even better, more accessible experience for our visitors’.

A recently posted update on the proposals reads: ‘While being sensitive to the integrity of the architecture, we will reconfigure the building to enable us to work even more creatively, connect with more visitors, artists, children and young people, increase cultural tourism and generate vital income to support our work.’

A spokesperson for the gallery confirmed that Avanti had been selected following a ’competitive tender’ based on ’design capability and price’.

The AJ100 practice is known, in particular, for its work on reviving existing Modernist buildings including Wells Coates’ Isokon Flats, The Florey Building in Oxford, Hill House in Hampstead and St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross.

The £17.5 million Turner Contemporary opened in 2011 and has hosted exhibitions from many major artists such as Tracey Emin, who grew up in Margate. Over the past seven years the gallery has attracted more than 2.9 million visits.

It is understood the design team will be looking to bring forward both new-build and refurbishment options which could also explore opportunities on adjacent land.

Earlier this month David Chipperfield Architects published its own speculative, pro bono plans for a 100-room hostel next to the gallery which would ’both expand the opportunities of the cultural institution and generate an annual income’.

Responding to the Chipperfield designs (pictured below), a Turner Contemporary spokesperson said: ’[We are] extremely supportive of this idea […] the gallery is working with partners to realise a new vision to ensure that it is more sustainable.’

Last year the council and ACE said they hoped the development projects would allow them to cut their ongoing revenue subsidy to the gallery.

Avanti’s RIBA stage 2 design are plans are expected to be revealed by the end of the year.

An initial public consultation on the practice’s concept designs and timescales for the revamp will be held later this month (19 September).

1231 rurner rooms terrace image

Visualisation of David Chipperfield’s proposal for a new hostel adjacent to an extended Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate

Visualisation of David Chipperfield’s proposal for a new hostel adjacent to an extended Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate - terrace view

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Readers' comments (1)

  • So after 8 years the Gallery (which I do like) requires a £6m re-jig. Is that good value for the public purse? Was the original brief wanton? Can anybody just ask for these top up funds or is it an exclusive club that have staffer fundraisers whilst many good causes are desperate for project finance.

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