1 image

All of your questions answered – from how our home will transform to where our paintings are going on tour

What is Courtauld Connects?

Courtauld Connects is an ambitious transformation project that will make our world-class artworks, research and teaching accessible to more people – across the UK and internationally.

The project will transform our wonderful home at London’s Somerset House, by greatly enhancing the quality of experience for visitors, students and staff, and improving access for all. Teaching and Learning spaces will be upgraded and new galleries, as well as a dedicated Learning Centre, will be added to our facilities.

The multi-million-pound development is the most significant since The Courtauld moved to its home in Somerset House in 1989.

All teaching and learning at The Courtauld (our degree programmes, public programmes and Research Forum events) will continue to run while the Courtauld Connects project is underway.

The development will take place in two phases, starting from September 2018. The first phase will transform our Gallery and Conservation departments and will create a new Learning Centre, with dedicated spaces and facilities for schools, young people, families, adult learners, friends and volunteers.

As well as transforming visitor facilities, the project will ensure our building has significantly improved accessibility. New galleries will allow us to present a greater variety of work from The Courtauld Collection, and provide a larger, flexible space for a dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions. On the top floor, the Great Room will be restored to its original proportions, presenting the greatest collection of Impressionist artworks in the UK.

The project will greatly improve displays and lighting throughout the Gallery, with new interpretation of the permanent collection and historic Somerset House building, providing visitors with deeper insight into works by history’s most famous artists and the social history of the architectural space in which The Courtauld is based.

Newly designed and expanded facilities will improve the work of our Conservation department, including the care of The Courtauld Collection, while newly integrated back of house facilities will allow for the better storage and handling of artworks.

To find out more about the Courtauld’s transformation, click the links below to read our two-part Design and Access Statement.

Design and Access Statement – Part 1

Design and Access Statement – Part 2

The second phase of the project will complete the physical connections between the Gallery and the Institute, creating deep links between the university’s outstanding research and our curatorial offer. Access will be improved throughout our building. Students, faculty members and gallery staff will benefit from enhanced academic and conservation facilities, befitting of our status as a world-leader in the study of the visual arts.

The number of working spaces in our vaulted Library will double, and improvements will be made to our teaching spaces and lecture theatre. The introduction of new, dedicated social learning spaces, along with the creation of spaces for research students, post-doctoral scholars and fellows, and other researches, will create a more dynamic research and teaching culture.

What will happen to teaching and learning at The Courtauld while the project is underway?

All teaching and learning at The Courtauld (our degree programmes, public programmes and Research Forum events) will continue to run while the Courtauld Connects project is underway.

From January 2019, teaching and learning will be temporarily relocated to a spacious, purpose-built educational facility called Vernon Square, located in Zone 1, a short distance away near King’s Cross, London, which was formerly a school and university. It is situated at the heart of a thriving academic community, with neighbours including Central Saint Martins and the British Library. Students will continue to have access to The Courtauld’s Libraries, with most moving to Vernon Square, and a small portion available on request at Somerset House.

Award winning architects Witherford Watson Mann (WWM) have been appointed to work on the project. In 2013 WWM won the prestigious Stirling Prize for their work on Astley Castle, Warwickshire. The project will be supported by exhibition designers Nissen Richards Studio, with Sir Robert McAlpine appointed as Construction Manager.

No. The transformation will enhance The Courtauld while preserving the unique character of our historic home in Somerset House. The aim is to enhance our building, making it accessible and enjoyable for everyone and fit for the 21st century.

Holders of Friends Membership will continue to have access to exhibitions at Somerset House and receive priority booking for the Courtyard events. Courtauld Friends trips, events, lectures, debates and our annual festival of art history will all continue.

Yes, a full programme of Open Courtauld events, seminars and lecturers will continue to run while Courtauld Connects is underway.

The first phase of the project will cost in the region of £50m.

The project will rely on philanthropic gifts, which will be generated through a major fundraising campaign and public support. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is also supporting the project with an award of £9.4m.

We rely on public support to deliver our exciting and ambitious project. Click here or email connects@courtauld.ac.uk for further information on how you can get involved with Courtauld Connects activities or make a donation towards the cost of the project.

You can visit our website or social media channels to discover the latest updates from The Courtauld throughout our transformation process, or email connects@courtauld.ac.uk with any questions.

Keep in touch

Get the best stories from The Courtauld in our newsletter.