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You are in: Norfolk » Going Out » Culture

10 November 2004 1029 GMT
Sainsbury Centre undergoes improvements
Picture: The Sainsbury Centre
The Sainsbury Centre at the UEA

Building work to improve the Sainsbury Centre will see it close from Sunday 1 August 2004.

The basement link project will reopen with a major exhibition.


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The architect Lord Norman Foster's first public building, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, is to undergo some major changes.

The work is intended to provide more display space, an internal link between the main and Crescent Wing galleries, an improved shop, café and other visitor facilities as well as a new education centre.

The award-winning centre, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, was built to house the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury's collection of world art, which the couple donated to the university in 1973.

It was expanded in 1991 when the Crescent Wing was added.

It gave the centre an extra new lower gallery, dedicated conservation and technical facilities, a state-of-the-art visible storage display for the reserve collection and space to accommodate the Sainsbury Research Unit and Museology programme.

Now the architect has designed these new facilities for his early patron, Lady Sainsbury, to celebrate her 90th birthday.

The building work will be funded by the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trust.

The closure of the Sainsbury Centre while these works are under way will also give staff a chance to start a programme of upgrades, so the building will face its next quarter-century refreshed.

Sainsbury Centre director Nichola Johnson

Director Nichola Johnson said: "This would not be possible without the continued generosity of the Sainsbury family, for which we are extremely grateful.

"We are really looking forward to the enhanced public access and facilities that the project will bring.

"Our ever-increasing numbers of school visits are vital in encouraging young people to visit museums and it will be marvellous to be able to offer them a purpose-built space for their activities."

But, she stressed, the temporary closure would not put the centre's activities on hold.

"We are currently putting together a very exciting programme of art and educational outreach events which will take place over the coming months.

"We'll be publicising this widely as soon as we have confirmed all the details," she added.

The Sainsbury Centre will close from 1 August and will reopen with a major exhibition in autumn 2005.

This allows time for the exhibits to be packed and taken into specialised storage and for their reinstatement in the gallery after the works.

Basement Link Project - artist impression and further information »


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