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O'Donnell + Tuomey wins first UK chance with Photographers' Gallery

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O'Donnell + Tuomey hopes to succeed where Erick van Egeraat failed after being chosen to design a new home for the Photographers' Gallery in London.

Back in 1999 van Egeraat was turfed off a project to redevelop the gallery's existing Grade II-listed building in Great Newport Street, central London, following heavy criticism of his proposals from English Heritage.

Almost seven years later, the gallery has decided to try again. However this time the world-famous institution has opted to move into a new purpose-built home in Ramillies Street, off Oxford Street.

Dublin-based O'Donnell + Tuomey, which has never built on this side of the Irish Sea, was picked ahead of a wealth of international big-hitters to land the much-sought-after project.

The practice, which was among the finalists for last year's Stirling Prize, saw off an impressive shortlist, which included 6a Architects, DRDH Architects, Jamie Fobert, Tony Fretton, McDowell & Benedetti and Haworth Tompkins.

Brett Rogers, director of the Photographers' Gallery, said: 'We were impressed by the high calibre of submissions which we received for this commission, from both well-established and emerging architectural practices.

'O'Donnell + Tuomey has the capacity to deliver a building of exceptional quality and character that will contribute a new cultural focus to this thriving part of Soho and ensure London finally gets the dedicated international centre for photography it so richly deserves.'

It is unclear at this stage whether the office block currently on the Ramillies Street site will be demolished to make way for the new development.

by Richard Waite

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