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See Inside Our Transformed Home

An exclusive preview of our new galleries, conservation studios and more, designed by award-winning architects Witherford Watson Mann

Courtauld Connects is the most significant development since The Courtauld moved to its historic home in London’s Somerset House in 1989 and will transform our Gallery, conservation and academic facilities. Led by Stirling Prize-winning architects Witherford Watson Mann, the project is set to revitalise the magnificent buildings first conceived by Sir William Chambers in the 1770s. Interpretation will bring to life hundreds of years of site history preceding the current historic buildings, telling the story, for example, of the first Somerset House (the first Renaissance palace in England) – and its history as a Royal residence.

The designs below offer a preview of the development, revealing how The Courtauld will change over the course of its transformation – improving facilities for students and the public, opening our building up to new audiences, and allowing us to show more of our historic collection than ever before.

1. A Gallery that’s open to everyone

1. A Gallery that’s open to everyone image

At the heart of The Courtauld’s transformed buildings, a new Gallery reception will make our historic home open to everyone, with enhanced facilities improving access and comfort.

2. New spaces to learn and discover

2. New spaces to learn and discover image

The ground floor transformation will result in the development of a new Learning Centre, allowing us to expand our offer to schools, families, young people, adult learners and community groups – as well as creating a new event space for friends, members and volunteers.

The space will be just one way visitors can get closer to the exceptional insight offered through The Courtauld’s academic research. Displays throughout our galleries will reveal the stories behind the iconic artworks in our collection, the social history of the building itself, and offer deeper insight into the artists and techniques that made them.

3. World-class art conservation facilities

3. World-class art conservation facilities image

The Courtauld is one of the world’s leading institutions for the study of history of art, and a leader in the fields of conservation and curating. Our transformed home will provide students and staff with enhanced, accessible and modernised conservation facilities, allowing us to continue to ensure the world’s most exceptional works of art can be sensitively preserved for future generations.

4. New homes for our outstanding collection

4. New homes for our outstanding collection image

Revitalised galleries will allow us to show a greater variety The Courtauld Collection which stretches from the late Medieval period to the 20th century. Visitors will experience the Medieval collection in a new gallery. From there, they will make their way to the historic ‘fine rooms’, which once hosted the Royal Academy and Royal Society Meetings, will allow visitors to walk through the history of western art, with a chronological presentation of our collection – from the early Renaissance to the 18th century.

The Courtauld will launch an unprecedented experimental space on the first floor of the West Wing. The Project Space will provide a platform through which the full range of our behind-the-scenes activities will be presented to the public for the first time. This gallery is conceived as a dynamic space which will engage existing and future audiences in new exciting ways. It will offer ambitious contemporary installations, conservation work in progress, artist residencies and other interactive endeavours, through a changing programme of displays and activities.  The 33 sqm Project Space will be made possible by converting a suite of three small office spaces into a new public gallery, thus creating more display spaces for the visitors to explore The Courtauld’s rich culture and understand our full range of expertise, ground-breaking research and unparalleled collections.

The journey will continue on the top floor, with work from the 19th and 20th centuries. On the same floor, the new Bloomsbury Room will show diverse works by the Bloomsbury group, a London-based collective of artists, writers and creatives from the 20th century. A new temporary exhibition space will allow The Courtauld to continue to present our critically acclaimed programme of exceptional art from across the world.

5. An amazing space to see Impressionist masterpieces

5. An amazing space to see Impressionist masterpieces  image

Situated on the top floor of our historic building, The Great Room will form the culmination of the visitor experience, providing visitors with a vast space to encounter works by Impressionist masters from Manet to Cézanne. The space is one of the architectural highlights of the Gallery and Somerset House, and is steeped in history, having hosted the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibitions from their inception in 1780 until 1837. Restored to its former glory, the new space will make it possible to encounter Impressionist masterpieces as they were first shown in Paris in the mid-19th century.

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