The Photographers’ Gallery
by O’Donnell + Tuomey

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The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey have extended a red brick warehouse in central London to provide a new home for The Photographers’ Gallery.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Top image is by Kate Elliot

Black-rendered walls overhang the original Victorian brickwork to cover the new fourth and fifth floors, which both contain galleries and are lit by a two-storey-high, north-facing window in one corner.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Lectures and workshops will take place on the third floor, an environmentally-controlled gallery is on the second floor and offices are on the first floor.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Part of the facade is cut away and glazed to reveal the cafe and bar at ground level, and a digital wall in the reception area will present a changing selection of projects from both professional photographers and the public.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

A bookshop and print salesroom occupy the basement.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

The ground floor is clad in black polished terrazzo and hardwood panels that match the thickness of the new rendered walls, while large windows with matching hardwood frames on the upper levels afford views towards nearby Oxford Street and Soho.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

The gallery will reopen to the public on 19 May.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

See more stories about galleries on Dezeen here.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Photographs are by Dennis Gilbert.

The Photographers Gallery by ODonnell and Tuomey

Here's some more explanation from the gallery and a statement from the architects:


The Photographers’ Gallery unveils new home designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey

The Photographers’ Gallery will unveil its new home for international and British photography in the heart of London's Soho on Saturday 19 May 2012. The Gallery’s opening will mark the conclusion of its ambitious £9.2 million capital campaign, which has been generously supported by Arts Council England’s Lottery Fund alongside a range of Trusts, Foundations, corporates and individuals.

Award winning Irish architects O’Donnell + Tuomey were commissioned to redevelop The Photographers’ Gallery in 2007 and construction on the building began in Autumn 2010. The transformed building features a two storey extension that will double the size of the previous exhibition space. Providing a platform for an enhanced programme of exhibitions, the generously proportioned galleries will showcase established and emerging photographic talent from the UK and around the world.

A sculpted terrazzo entrance with an open plan design will connect the ground-level Café and lower-ground Bookshop to the street, creating a welcoming meeting place and lively hub for visitors. A centrepiece of the ground floor will be The Wall, a digital display which will present guest-curated projects, artist commissions and collaborative photographic work involving the public.

Extending over a further five floors, the original Victorian red-brick warehouse will be linked to a modern steel-framed extension through an external sleeve of black render, terrazzo and sustainably sourced Angelim Pedra wood. The architects have created numerous links between exterior and interior, punctuating the building with large feature windows which function as apertures onto the urban realm around Oxford St.

A new environmentally-controlled floor will create opportunities to show more work from archives and museum collections and higher ceilings in the top floor galleries will provide dynamic spaces for large-scale and moving image works.

Situated at the heart of the building between the two main exhibition spaces will be the Eranda Studio. Placing an emphasis on the Gallery’s education programme, this floor will feature a full schedule of talks, workshops and events. Introducing permanent elements to the programme, the Eranda Studio will include a camera obscura and a Study Room where the public will be able to access an archive of material related to exhibitions and events which have taken place since the Gallery was established in 1971. Also featured on this floor will be Touchstone, a quarterly display of a single, groundbreaking photograph.

Complementing the enhanced facilities for the public programme will be new spaces for the Bookshop, Print Sales Room and Café. The Bookshop will offer the latest releases as well as hard-to-find art and photography titles and a range of niche cameras. The Print Sales Room will see the relaunch of The Photographers’ Gallery Editions, in which a world-renowned photographer donates a limited-edition print of their work to benefit the Gallery’s public programmes. The new street level Café will be run in partnership with Lina Stores, the oldest family run delicatessen in Soho, and will boast an Italian menu of freshly-made dishes and baked goods.

A new visual identity for the Gallery has been created by North, one of the UK’s most respected and innovative design practices. Inspired in part by the building’s architectural design, this new visual identity will boldly communicate the Gallery’s vision both within the building and beyond.

The Photographers’ Gallery staff together with its Board of Trustees has raised £8.84 million to date towards its projected £9.2 million capital campaign target. Funds raised include a £3.6 million grant from the Arts Council England’s Lottery Fund; £2.4 million from the sale proceeds of the Gallery’s previous building at Great Newport Street and £2.8 million from Foundations, Trusts, individuals, corporates, an auction of donated photographs held in 2011 and other public funds. The gallery plans to raise the remaining £360,000 for its public programme through naming rights for the top floor gallery and public appeal.

Architectural Statement

The Gallery is located at a crossroads, between Soho and Oxford Street. The corner site is visible in a glimpse view through the continuous shop frontage of Oxford Street. Ramillies Street is approached down a short flight of steps, leading to a quieter world behind the scenes of London life, a laneway with warehouses and backstage delivery doors.

The brick-warehouse steel-frame building is extended to minimise the increase in load on the existing structure and foundations. This extended volume houses large gallery spaces. A close control gallery is located within the fabric of the existing building.

The lightweight extension is clad in a dark rendered surface that steps forward from the face of the existing brickwork. The street front café is finished with black polished terrazzo. Untreated hardwood timber framed elements are detailed to slide into the wall thickness flush with the rendered surface. The composition and detail of the hardwood screens and new openings give a crafted character to the façade.

A deep cut in the ground floor façade was made to reveal the café. The ground floor slab was cut out to lead down to the basement bookshop. An east-facing picture window and the north-light periscope window to the city skyline were added in response to the specific character of the site.

  • Aaron

    At last! I will miss the old space though. It was perhaps my favourite place in London. It hosted many great shows and there was something appealing about the scale. It was somewhere you could just drop in to. Despite the pretty ordinary coffee (being London) the cafe also provided a beautiful respite from the city outside. One of the few places in London you could sit and quietly read a book without being moved along…

  • mindgame

    How easy it'll be to change these signs for every new exhibition?

  • Tea

    I really like this buidling, but bit disappointed with only 1/3 of tall window has a view