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
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
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
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
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