Courtesy Hayes Davidson

As the oldest art institution and art school in Great Britain, the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) in London is undergoing a master plan renovation and revamping its architecture program just in time for its 250th anniversary in 2018.

The result of a generous donation from the Dorfman Foundation, a charitable body by Lloyd Dorfman, trustee of the Royal Academy Trust, the RA will start two new international architecture awards and expand the institution’s facilities—currently located at Burlington House on Piccadilly in central London—into 6 Burlington Gardens.

The master plan, by locally-based firm David Chipperfield Architects, features a central public link designed to connect Burlington House with 6 Burlington Gardens—a site originally designed in the 1860s as the Senate house for the University of London, and later acquired by the RA.

The project will restore the Senate Rooms in 6 Burlington Gardens, which will hold a new architecture space and café, as well as reinstate a 260-seat auditorium and retail facilities. The Royal Academy schools will also be extended with additional student facilities.

Courtesy Hayes Davidson

Additionally, one of the oldest parts of Burlington House, the Keeper's House, was recently completed as part of the renovation project, and is now open to the public.

“The Academy has been led by artists and architects for nearly 250 years, and this will revitalize its presence and profile,” said Dorfman to the RA in a press release. “The international awards will recognize the best in architecture, and again highlight the RA’s role in London’s cultural life and also London’s status as a world center for architecture.”

The two new architecture awards will include the Royal Academy Architecture Prize, honoring “an inspiring and enduring contribution to the culture of architecture,” and the Royal Academy Dorfman Award, which “champions new talent in architecture,” according to a release by the RA. Through these programs, the RA hopes to heighten is role as an international advocate of architecture.

Courtesy David Chipperfield Architects
Courtesy David Chipperfield Architects
Courtesy David Chipperfield Architects