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National Gallery Selects Annabelle Selldorf as Renovation Architect

National Gallery Selects Annabelle Selldorf as Renovation Architect

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National Gallery Selects Annabelle Selldorf as Renovation Architect

London’s National Gallery has announced New York–based architect Annabelle Selldorf as the lead on its massive five-year restoration project. Selldorf Architects was chosen from a shortlist of six firms, the other five of which were based in London. Its recent projects include the current restoration of New York’s Frick Collection, the expansion of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the renovation of Luma Arles in the South of France.The upgrade, which the National Gallery announced in February, is expected to cost between $35 million and $43 million and will comprise the restoration of the 1991 Sainsbury Wing lobby, the creation of a new research center in the bottom of the 1838 Wilkins building, and the improvement of the outdoor area bordering Trafalgar Square. Construction will likely begin late next year and is to take place in phases, with the first phase scheduled for completion in May 2024, in time for the museum’s bicentenary celebration, and the final phase sometime in 2026.Dubbed NG200, the restoration is to be paid for via a yet-to-be-launched fundraising drive. Museum director Gabriele Finaldi cast the renovations as necessary for both the institution, one of the world’s most visited art museums, and the nation to recover from the “catastrophic impact” of the Covid-19 crisis, noting, “It will take time for visitor numbers to return to 2019 levels, but there is optimism on the horizon and arts and culture will be crucial in the healing of our country.” The National Gallery in 2020 saw attendance slide 50 percent over the previous year.Earlier this year, Finaldi—perhaps prodded to do so by the memory of Prince Charles’s famous characterization of an earlier proposed National Gallery extension as a “monstrous carbuncle”—promised a “sensitive intervention.” Selldorf in a statement pledged an “inspiring, sustainable and truly inclusive” restoration.

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