Following a transformational redevelopment, designed by internationally-acclaimed architect Sir David Chipperfield CBE RA and supported by the National Lottery, the new Royal Academy will open up and reveal more of the elements that make the RA unique – sharing with the public historic treasures from its Collection, the work of its Royal Academicians and the Royal Academy Schools, and its role as a centre for debate about art and architecture – alongside its world-class exhibitions programme.
One of the key features of the redevelopment is the new Weston Bridge between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, uniting the two-acre campus and creating a new route between Piccadilly and Mayfair. The unified campus provides 70% more public space than the RA’s original Burlington House footprint, enabling the RA to expand its exhibition and events programme, and to create new and free displays of art and architecture across the campus for visitors year-round. From dedicated galleries and displays exploring its foundation and history in training artists, to changing exhibits and interventions devoted to showcasing contemporary works by Royal Academicians and students at the art school at the heart of the campus. The display of the Royal Academy Collection has been curated by Royal Academicians and designed by renowned museographer Adrien Gardère.
The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries provides the Royal Academy with an impressive third suite of galleries for temporary exhibitions. Refurbished with state of the art conditions, the galleries are naturally day-lit and will support an exhibition programme of contemporary art and architecture. They will be inaugurated by Tacita Dean’s exhibition LANDSCAPE (19 May – 12 August 2018).
Since 1768, the Royal Academy’s founding principle has been to promote the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts and architecture, which the RA has achieved through a rich public programme of discussion and debate as well as exhibitions. The creation of the new 250-seat Benjamin West Lecture Theatre, the Clore Learning Centre and the restoration of the Wolfson British Academy Room, will give the RA permanent spaces for it to thrive as a hub of learning and debate well into the future. Animating the campus throughout the year, the RA’s new public events programme will increase in scale and ambition, featuring festivals, major talks and in-conversations, architecture awards, more hands-on creative educational activities for families, schools and community groups, as well as academic courses and classes for adult learners and the newly launched Executive Master in Cultural Leadership, reaching out to new and diverse audiences of all ages in the practice and study of art and architecture.
A new public route through the campus will integrate the Royal Academy Schools, located at the very heart of the Academy, into the visitors’ experience revealing the Academy’s important role in arts education and its long tradition of training artists. The new Weston Studio, a public project space for students and alumni, and views of the Schools’ Corridor and the newly landscaped Lovelace Courtyard, will provide visitors with a greater insight into Britain’s longest established art school.
New spaces to eat, drink and relax include the Senate Room bar and all-day restaurant located within The Dorfman Senate Rooms on the first floor. The room is a magnificent double-height space, formerly the meeting place of the Senate of the University of London. It has been fully restored to the highest conservation standards by David Chipperfield Architects. Further cafes and shops will be located either side of the Burlington Gardens entrance. Other extensive improvements have been made across the campus to create new ticket desks, bathrooms and cloakrooms.
The transformation of the Royal Academy has included the vital conservation of the Grade II* listed building of 6 Burlington Gardens. Designed by Sir James Pennethorne (1801 – 1871) as the headquarters for the University of London on a site which had previously been part of the garden of Burlington House, it was regarded as a masterpiece of mid-Victorian architecture. Acquired by the Royal Academy in 2001, its former tenants included the Civil Service Commission, the British Academy and the British Museum’s Museum of Mankind. The new David Chipperfield designed architecture, together with the careful conservation of the façade, the reinstatement of the lecture theatre and restoration of The Dorfman Senate Rooms by Julian Harrap Architects, will contribute to the nationally renowned significance of Burlington Gardens.
In its 250th year, the new Royal Academy of Arts will become a major cultural destination in central London, with year-round access to a significantly expanded public programme and with more space to make, debate and exhibit art and architecture than ever before.
Cover image: The Wohl Entrance Hall, Simon Menges
Opening Weekend of the new Royal Academy of Arts
To celebrate the opening of the new Royal Academy, a weekend-long art party on the 19 and 20 May will present free workshops, tours, displays, late-night performances and DJs. Highlights include performances by The Uncollective and Rachael Plays Disco; Collaborative Mural Drawing, Party Hat Making and Architectural Model Making; Rainbow participatory performance in the front hall of Burlington Gardens with Musarc; RA Collection Gallery Tours; and a Family printmaking workshop in the new Clore Learning Centre. All against a backdrop of street food and cocktail bars in the RA’s Annenberg Courtyard.
New Royal Academy of Arts
Dates and Opening Hours
Opening weekend: Saturday 19 May 10am-10pm and Sunday 20 May 2018 10am-6pm
Exhibition opening hours: Open daily 10am – 6pm (last admission 5.30pm) and Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)
For further information on new opening hours for Burlington Gardens please visit: royalacademy.org.uk