The British AcademyLondon
“Wright & Wright are delighted to be redesigning the spaces within the British Academy, to reflect their commitment to broaden engagement with researchers, thinkers and the public. Our approach has been to research thoroughly the building’s historic development so that we understand where change is possible; and where we can develop the existing duality of spatial and material themes that define the place with its charm, beauty and ambiguity. Within this context, we will work with the Academy to rethink this remarkable building as an incubator of ideas and public engagement.”
Wright & Wright Architect’s proposals for the refurbishment of the lower floors of the British Academy’s home at 10 and 11 Carlton House Terrace are part of the Academy’s plans to open up the physical and intellectual access to the building – facilitating new conversations, new connections and new ways of thinking.
The proposals include the creation of double height spaces in the under-used cellular rooms of the lower floors. A new state-of-the-art 220 person auditorium with a circular form will promote engagement between speaker and audience, becoming a lively forum for public and intellectual debate. Adjoining this, two large event rooms will act as support spaces to the auditorium and as flexible spaces for conference, dining and exhibition. Architecturally, the new spaces will use high quality materials and reflect, and reinterpret, the detailing of the upper floor rooms, which have been carefully researched.
Key to the opening-up of these rooms is the reintroduction of a hidden staircase as a vertical circulation spine, which will be accessed from a new lobby at the rear of no.10. The stone staircase will echo the sensuous form and materiality of the building’s grand promenading staircase of no.10, designed by the prolific architects Billerey & Blow, early in the 20th century.
The project has been submitted for planning and listed building consent. Further details to follow.