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Fobert and Purcell unveil images of National Portrait Gallery revamp

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Jamie Fobert Architects has released the first images of its £35.5 million National Portrait Gallery makeover

The practice, working with heritage specialist Purcell, has drawn up proposals for the largest development at the Trafalgar Square gallery since it opened in 1896.

The scheme will increase public gallery space by about 20 per cent, with its East Wing, part of the original building, brought back into use as the new Weston Wing.

It also includes the creation of a ‘more welcome and generous’ entrance and forecourt on the gallery’s north façade.

Fobert’s design for the forecourt floor features a contemporary interpretation of a fan pattern that runs through the gallery’s original mosaic floors. 

The development also includes a complete re-interpretation of the gallery’s collection across 40 refurbished spaces and a new learning centre. 

Fobert’s designs were unveiled as the gallery launched a public appeal to raise funds for the £35.5 million project. 

The gallery has said the public can support the appeal by helping to fund new mosaics, which will form part of Fobert’s design, or adopting one of 18 original stone busts on the exterior of the building. 

Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery said: ’The renewed building will allow us to be more welcoming, engaging and accessible to all, with new and refurbished galleries for exhibitions and the permanent collection, as well as better-quality learning facilities.’

Jamie Fobert said: ’Ewan Christian’s original 1896 building is both handsome and rich in decorative detail. Our work is one of revealing this building and working with it to create a new, open and welcoming National Portrait Gallery.

’I am particularly happy to be able to reconsider the public area to the north of the gallery and transform it into a new public space for London.’

Npg proposed section jamie fobert architects resave

Npg proposed section jamie fobert architects resave

Section through galleries, new entrance hall and forecourt

Fobert and Purcell won a competition for the cultural project in February.

The AJ understands that other practices in the running for the job included David Adjaye, OMA, Farshid Moussavi, 6a, Caruso St John and Haworth Tompkins.

About 60 per cent of the project’s funding has already been raised, with the Heritage Lottery Fund allocating £9.4 million to the scheme last summer. The gallery said it hoped to reach its target by March 2019, allowing completion by 2022.

The architects will work with engineers Max Fordham and Price & Myers on the scheme.

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