London-based architect David Chipperfield, Hon. FAIA, released details of development plans for London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA) that include building a walkway between two historical buildings and more public spaces. According to David Chipperfield Architects’ site, the renovation involves connecting the Burlington House, originally a private Palladian mansion, and Burlington Gardens. The RA purchased the latter in 2001 from the University of London, and has since been developing a plan for the two isolated sites to gain connectivity. Fourteen years later, the artist-led institution has £44 million (about $49,508,500) of the necessary £50 million (about $61,900,000) for construction. It also has a momentous completion date to boot: the firm is aiming to complete the renovations by 2018 for RA's 250th anniversary.
In doing so, the project will open up the physical space for both wider access to the buildings and new public areas for exhibitions—doubling the existing spaces. Part of this process is reworking the interiors of said buildings, and creating a walkway that goes from each of their entrances. The contemporary bridge will span across the courtyard between them. The campus will also gain a “double-height lecture theatre with over 260 seats,” which will be built within the former university lecture theater, according to the RA’s site.
In the mean time, a contractor has been selected. Construction will start in Oct. 2015.
To learn more about this project, watch RA's video on Chipperfield's plans to open up the site.