Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum
The RIBA is delighted to announce the winner of the Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum Competition. The winning design (Scheme No. 69 in the competition) is by Berman Guedes Stretton, an Oxford-based firm of architects, with a branch in London, which has worked on a wide range of heritage-related projects.
The competition judges agreed unanimously that Berman Guedes Stretton's submission was a worthy winner. They considered that their design "possessed clarity of vision and an uncomplicated consistency which gave it a simple elegance and logic". They praised the design's eco-friendly aspects, including use of reclaimed and self-finished materials, ground source heat pumps and natural ventilation. They also felt that the development would enhance the surrounding area, by creating a link through to Cheltenham's oldest building, medieval St Mary's Church.
The new development will transform Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum by greatly increasing its exhibition and display space and other facilities. Notable features include a large temporary exhibition gallery, additional space for collections (including accessible storage space which will benefit both the public and researchers), and, for the first time, dedicated space for the Art Gallery & Museum's extensive education, outreach, life-long learning and arts development work. The design also includes improved and fully-accessible visitor facilities, including lifts, shop and café.
The competition judges were informed in their short-listing and judging by a consultation process involving a range of organisations and hundreds of visitors and residents who gave their views on comment sheets and at a series of road-shows throughout Cheltenham.
Councillor Diggory Seacome, Cheltenham Borough Council Cabinet Member for Arts & Culture, said: "The winning design will enable the Art Gallery & Museum to move into the 21st century in terms of its facilities. The arts and culture are important to Cheltenham and are valued and appreciated both by its residents and by those who visit the town at all times of the year. The RIBA Design Competition has given everyone the opportunity to examine all the possibilities and we look forward to progressing to the next stages of this important project with a design which has been so well-received."
Jane Lillystone, Museum & Arts Manager, said: "We are delighted that so many people have shown such an interest in the design competition and in the future of Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. The development will not happen overnight, but we are greatly encouraged by the support we have received so far, including by organisations such as the Friends. We are very grateful to the Royal Institute of British Architects and to the judges for their time and expertise, which has taken us this far."
Gary Gollins of Berman Guedes Stretton commented on their win: "Berman Guedes Stretton is delighted to have won the RIBA competition for the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum and we look forward to commencing a dialogue with our new client and working with them on the development of our design. It is gratifying, when faced with so many high quality submissions, that the jury panel have selected what we believe is essentially a very simple and straightforward proposal. We are particularly pleased that the energy and enthusiasm we have invested in the competition will now be allowed to continue through to the realisation of this important project."