Gilbert-Ash hands over picture-perfect National Portrait Gallery redevelopment

by Francesca

Leading construction and fit-out company, Gilbert-Ash, has successfully completed the largest redevelopment of the National Portrait Gallery’s building since it opened in 1896.

The award-winning company was the main contractor on Inspiring People, a project comprising a significant refurbishment of the building, the creation of public spaces and a new Learning Centre, combined with a re-presentation of the Collection,  safeguarding the Gallery’s heritage and creating an enhanced visitor experience. The final stage of Gilbert-Ash’s development will see the creation of a more welcoming visitor entrance and public forecourt, completed in time for the Gallery’s reopening in June 2023.

As part of the redevelopment, Gilbert-Ash has overseen the transformation of the Grade I listed Blavatnik and Weston Wings of the Gallery, which are part of the original building. Works are also underway to create the new Ross Place entrance and forecourt on the North Façade, designed to provide a high-quality space for both the public and Gallery visitors.

The designs, by Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell, encompass a complete re-display and re-interpretation of the Gallery’s Collection, presenting a wider and more diverse selection of portraits, and increasing the long-term financial sustainability of the Gallery.

Additionally, a new Learning Centre has been created to transform the quality of the education services. The improved centre provides three new studios each with specialist equipment and breakout space.

Gilbert-Ash Managing Director, Ray Hutchinson joined National Portrait Gallery’s Director, Nicholas Cullinan at the handover ceremony. Ray credited the company’s extensive experience in heritage and cultural projects as crucial to the success of the redevelopment.

The National Portrait Gallery will reopen to the public on 22 June 2023.

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