London's National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has appointed Jamie Fobert Architects to lead its largest building development since 1896, when its current site off Trafalgar Square first opened. (The museum was founded four decades earlier, making it the world's oldest portrait gallery.)
The £35.5m project, known as Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery, will expand, refurbish and rehang the public and gallery spaces, improve the entrance and create a state-of-the-art Learning Centre.
The NPG has already raised £21.2m, 60% of the overall target. Following a major grant of £9.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund last June, the gallery aims to complete fundraising by March 2019. Construction work is due to start in 2020, for a completion date in 2022.
In a statement, the museum's director, Nicholas Cullinan, praised Fobert's “evident love of the gallery” and the firm's recent extension of Tate St Ives in Cornwall, and Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery in Cambridge, which is due to reopen on 10 February. Cullinan says: “This is the perfect time to work with Jamie as we take the National Portrait Gallery into one of the most exciting chapters in its history.”
Fobert says he is “thrilled to be taking on this project, which will unify the collection and enhance the gallery’s presence in the city”. The multidisciplinary design team will also include the heritage architect Purcell and the engineering firms Max Fordham and Price & Myers.