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RUFF wins Barbican Art Gallery commission

Barbican Art Gallery Refurbishment
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Emerging practice RUFFarchitects has won a publicly tendered contract to overhaul the Grade II-listed Barbican Art Gallery in the City of London

The studio – founded in 2015 by former AHMM architect Paul Ruff – defeated an unnamed shortlist of rival firms to win the commission for the Barbican and City of London Corporation.

The £650,000 project, which is already on site, will restore and upgrade the 1982 exhibition space, created as part of the larger Chamberlin, Powell and Bon-designed Barbican Arts Centre featuring a theatre, cinema, conference centre, library and restaurants.

The appointment comes seven years after Ruff completed a £3.4 million street-level cinema complex for the venue while working as project architect at AHMM.

Commenting on the latest scheme, the practice director said: ‘We are delighted to be working back at the Barbican. It’s one of the most revered buildings in London and the UK so it’s humbling as a relatively new practice to be involved in a cultural project such as this.’

Barbican head of visual arts Jane Alison commented: ‘This is the perfect opportunity for Paul to continue his working relationship with the centre, and to engage especially with the art gallery.

‘We selected Paul to oversee key improvements to ensure the continuity and integrity of the interventions at the centre were maintained.’

The refurbishment, due to complete in April, will improve access and enable the further enhancement of the gallery’s environmental controls. Display walls, lighting and flooring will also be refurbished throughout the space.

The gallery will reopen on 30 May with a new retrospective exhibition focussing on American artist Lee Krasner designed by David Chipperfield Architects. 

Project data

Project Barbican Art Gallery Refurbishment
Location Barbican Centre, City of London
Project type Arts
Client City of London Corporation
Architect RUFFarchitects
Fire engineer Arup
Structural engineer Arup
MEP services engineer Cundall
Quantity surveyor Exigere
Photographer Rob Parrish
Start on site date February 2019
Completion date April 2019 

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