The Wallace Collection

GBA were shortlisted for a competition for a new visitor entrance to the Wallace Collection in London. The competition was organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants

London, UK
2008
Sector: Cultural
Client: The Wallace Collection
Project Status: Competition

The redevelopment of the visitor entrance provides the perfect opportunity to examine not just the spatial arrangement of the foyer and cloakrooms but also to position the building prominently in the wider urban context. In a collaborative approach with Polimekanos that seeks to sample elements of the old and new, we look to re-energise the internal and external spaces at Hertford House to create an exciting yet focused solution that both evokes historic memories and presents an utterly contemporary space.

An analysis of the building and its functions leads to a number of viable solutions for the organisation of spaces.
The ambitious treatment of the Wallace Collection’s forecourt can help to bring the building’s rich offering outside, while opening up new opportunities for the collection as a cultural centre and commercial enterprise. The key to a successful treatment of the Wallace Collection’s new entrance and retail spaces is an approach that reconciles contrasting practical, commercial, emotive and aesthetic objectives in a unifying design. The present partition between lobby and hall creates a confusing double space, diminishing the grand potential of the hall. The question is how to restore focus and present the building in its full glory. An open, airy and light lobby creates a new focus on the grand hall, stretching the canvas on which visitors draw their own experience. A focus on the essentials of arriving in a calm and simple space dedicated to information allows this room to be completely transformed from day to night space. Sampling from references to the existing interiors can connect new elements to an existing building, through allusion or contrast.


Gianni Botsford
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