Founded in 1768, the Royal Academy of Arts is the oldest arts institution in Britain. The ten-year project has seen the RA’s historic home of 17th-century Burlington House on Piccadilly linked with the 19th-century No. 6 Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus.
Designed by Sir David Chipperfield RA, the project involved major refurbishment of the two Grade II* listed buildings, the addition of new contemporary elements and the opening of the subterranean brick vaults, The Julia and Hans Rausing Hall, which now houses new gallery spaces and art school studios.
The restored vaults underneath Burlington House provide a central route through the site and exhibit a selection of the RA’s historic collection.
Amongst the pinnacle of prestigious historic building projects, this complex scheme required exceptionally high-quality materials.
Imperial’s experts worked closely with the contractor, conservation and project teams to deliver an outstanding solution; handmade imperial-sized Reclamation Yellow Stock bricks, which were limewashed on site to match the existing brickwork to achieve an atmospheric, historically-appropriate finish.
Tom Billington, Head of Estates at the Royal Academy of Arts, commented: “The redevelopment and renovation of the Royal Academy of Arts is an enormous feat of architecture, engineering, restoration and collaboration. The Royal Academy worked very closely with David Chipperfield Architects, Julian Harrap Architects and all of the partners and staff to create an institution for the 21st century and beyond. The RA has now been opened up to reveal more of our mission to promote the understanding, appreciation and practice of art and architecture.”
“As an Academy led by artists and architects, it was always important to be sensitive to the architectural and social history of 6 Burlington Gardens, as well as that of the Royal Academy of Arts itself. As a public institution it was equally important for us to continue to be open to our visitors, Royal Academicians and students to continue with our work. By working closely with our partners and staff over a number of years, we have been able to achieve a truly transformative and successful redevelopment of the Academy.”
The £56m project was completed in time for the RA’s 250th anniversary.