The National Gallery announces six shortlisted design teams for its NG200 plans

Clockwise from top left: Peter St John and Adam Caruso of Caruso St John © Ben Blossom; David Kohn and Jessica Lyons of David Kohn Architects © Matthew Thompson; Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects © Brigitte Lacombe; David Chipperfield © David Chipperfield Architects and Lucy Musgrave, Publica © Amandine_​Alessandra; Stephen Witherford, Chris Watson and William Mann © WWM Architects; and Asif Khan © Jérémie Souteyrat.

The National Gallery has today (8 April 2021) announced six shortlisted design teams in its search for a partner to work with it on a suite of capital projects to mark its Bicentenary. An initial phase of work will be completed in 2024, to mark the Gallery’s 200th year.

The shortlisted teams are: 

The shortlist has been drawn from an impressive pool of submissions from highly talented UK and international architect-led teams. In addition to members of the executive team and Trustees of the National Gallery, several independent panellists are advising on the selection process, which is being run by Malcolm Reading Consultants. These are Edwin Heathcote, Architecture Critic and Author; leading structural engineer Jane Wernick CBE FREng; and Ben Bolgar, Senior Design Director for the Prince’s Foundation. The extremely high quality of the submissions led the panel to increase the number shortlisted from the originally envisaged five, to six.

Following an open call launched in February 2021, the next steps will require the shortlisted teams to submit an initial tender, attend negotiation workshops, submit a final tender and then be interviewed by the selection panel. No design work will be required, and some expenses will be paid to the shortlisted teams. An appointment is expected to be made in July 2021.

Commenting on the announcement of the shortlisted teams, Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi said: 

We were impressed and delighted with the high quality of the submissions we received. It was not an easy task to reach the shortlist, but we are confident that we have chosen six teams that will produce a range of different approaches to excite and inspire us. 
This is a significant moment in the development of the National Gallery as we look forward to the recovery of our arts and cultural institutions, our city and our country. It is important that we choose a team who we can work with collaboratively and that shares our vision for the future. I’m looking forward to the next phase of the selection process.’

Paul Gray, Chief Operating Officer of the National Gallery, added: 

We thank everyone who submitted for the NG200 Project. From these six shortlisted teams, we are looking for demonstrable and exceptional design talent as well as the creativity to respond sensitively to the heritage and context of the Sainsbury Wing. We have identified teams that we know will offer exciting and inspiring visions, and we look forward to working with the winning team to unlock the potential of the spaces within the Sainsbury Wing and the public realm.’

NG200 will celebrate 200 years since the National Gallery’s foundation in 1824, programming a series of inspirational exhibitions and outreach around the country and around the world. The celebration will also include the completion of an initial phase of works to its Trafalgar Square buildings to improve the welcome’ it provides to the millions of visitors it receives each year. 

The brief for the project includes sensitive interventions to the Grade I listed Sainsbury Wing to reconfigure the ground- floor entrance and upgrade the visitor amenities, creating new spaces that will provide a welcome experience befitting a world-class institution and that meets the expectations of 21st-century visitors. 

A new Research Centre will support the Gallery’s vision of becoming a world leader in research into historic painting, and communicate the Gallery’s work as a global thought leader by creating a powerful resource for studies into art history, digital humanities, conservation, and heritage science. It will be a resource for everyone interested in studying art, from students to international academics.

The successful team will also be asked to reimagine the public realm immediately outside the Sainsbury Wing and along the northern edge of Trafalgar Square to improve the presence of the building in its context and create a more attractive and enjoyable setting for visitors and the public.

Underpinning the brief is the desire to create healthy, sustainable, and accessible spaces and an environment that is open and inclusive where visitors can relax as they plan their visit to one of the world’s finest art collections. Following a year of unprecedented challenges due to Covid-19, the National Gallery wants to build on its strength, inventiveness, and relevance to play a vital role in the nation’s recovery story. 

Notes to Editors

More information about the design team selection process including the full brief can be found here.

The National Gallery is one of the greatest art galleries in the world. Founded by Parliament in 1824, the Gallery houses the nation’s collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the late 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes works by Bellini, Cézanne, Degas, Leonardo, Monet, Raphael, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Titian, Turner, Van Dyck, Van Gogh and Velázquez. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors. Admission free.

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Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic architectural consultancy that helps clients to imagine and define contemporary environments; MRC is the leading specialist in devising and managing global searches for design teams. Since 1996, we have developed an extensive network of contacts, an outstanding portfolio of completed projects, and an international reputation for fairness and transparency. MRC believes in the power of design to act as an inspiration.

Information on Shortlisted Teams

Asif Khan

Asif Khan with AKT II, Atelier Ten, Bureau Veritas, Donald Insall Associates, Donald Hyslop, Gillespies, Joseph Henry, Kenya Hara, and Plan A Consultants

We have assembled a highly experienced team of innovators, experts, and dear friends of the National Gallery to collaborate and deliver a new beginning for this sensitive site on its 200th Birthday.

Our team is led by Asif Khan Ltd., the award-winning London architecture office who have been working on the Museum of London and Dubai Expo public realm for the past four years; globally renowned graphic designer and visual communicator Kenya Hara; award‐winning structural engineers AKTII; innovative environmental engineers Atelier 10; landscape architects Gillespies; historic building architects Donald Insall Associates; and courageous urban practitioners Joseph Henry and Donald Hyslop.

We sincerely believe that our team will bring the exact mix of diversity, respect and freshness that this old friend needs to help it into the next century.

Caruso St John Architects

Caruso St John Architects with Arup, Alan Baxter, muf architecture/art and Alliance CDM

Since its foundation in 1990, Caruso St John Architects has been pursuing an architecture that is rooted in place. The practice resists the thin‐skinned abstraction that characterises much global architecture in favour of buildings that are perceived slowly over time and that have an emotional content. Its work is enriched by an ongoing dialogue with the European city and with history —that of architecture, art, and culture more widely. Caruso St John’s approach brings an intensity to the built work and ensures the rigorous construction quality for which the practice is renowned. The result is an architecture that is considered, meaningful and enduring.

David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects with Publica, Expedition, Atelier Ten, iM2 and Plan A Consultants

David Chipperfield Architects (DCA) has brought together an experienced and award‐winning London‐based team with the collective expertise to meet the ambitions and specific challenges of the NG200 Project. Led by architects and heritage experts DCA, the team includes urban design and public realm specialists Publica; Expedition and Atelier Ten structural and services engineers; Principal Designer iM2; and Plan A design managers. The team shares a common spirit of partnership, collaboration, and design excellence.

Over the last 35 years DCA has been widely celebrated for its cultural projects such as Museo Jumex in Mexico City and James‐Simon‐Galerie in Berlin as well as its sensitive work with historic and listed buildings, including masterplans for Museum Island in Berlin and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The practice has a proven track record with the restoration and re‐use of modern landmarks such as Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie.

David Kohn Architects

David Kohn Architects with Max Fordham, Price & Myers, Purcell and Todd Longstaffe‐Gowan

David Kohn Architects has a reputation for arts and education projects. Gallery projects have included the V&A Photography Centre, refurbishment of the ICA, a restaurant for the Royal Academy, and spaces for Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Collaborations with artists have included A Room for London with Fiona Banner RA, The Salvator Mundi Experience with Simon Fujiwara and Ickworth House with Pablo Bronstein.

The practice is currently working on new campuses for New College Oxford and the University of Hasselt, Belgium, and new market halls for Birmingham City. The proposed team are successfully collaborating on these projects but also bring skills specific to the NG200 Project. In particular, Purcell has worked with the National Gallery for 30 years and have an unrivalled knowledge of the estate. David Kohn has recently written about Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown and their influence on his practice, in the Architectural Design special issue, Multiform.

Selldorf Architects

Selldorf Architects with Purcell, Vogt Landscape Architects, Arup and AEA Consulting

The team of Selldorf Architects, Purcell, Vogt, Arup and AEA bring extensive experience in the sensitive updating of museums and other historically significant buildings in important public contexts. Lead designer Selldorf Architects is currently working on the $160 million expansion and renovation of The Frick Collection in New York City and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Founded in 1947, Purcell is the largest UK practice working in the field of historic buildings. Vogt was the designer for the public realm of Tate Modern and is one of the leading voices in landscape architecture today. Arup is unparalleled in their technical creativity and were the original Structure and MEP engineers of the Sainsbury Wing. AEA Consulting is a global firm setting the standard in strategy and planning for cultural and creative industries. The team is committed to world‐class, place‐making architecture and urban design that is sustainable and future‐forward.

Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Witherford Watson Mann Architects with Price and Myers, Max Fordham, Grant Associates, Purcell and David Eagle Ltd

Witherford Watson Mann Architects are specialists in the transformation of cultural heritage. RIBA Stirling Prize winners in 2013 and shortlisted for the award in 2019 for their work at Astley Castle and Nevill Holt Opera, their designs for the Grade I listed Courtauld Institute of Art at Somerset House and Clare College, Cambridge are currently under construction. Their team includes Price & Myers, structural engineers and Max Fordham, services engineers, longstanding collaborators of the practice and substantial contributors to their award‐winning projects; Grant Associates, landscape architects whose work ranges from the discreet urban landscape at Accordia, Cambridge to the flamboyant Gardens by the Bay in Singapore; Purcell, deeply experienced in the field of historic buildings, who have delivered sensitive and creative projects for the National Gallery, the British Museum, and the V&A; and by David Eagle, CDM advisor amongst others to Argent at Kings Cross and Woolwich Creative District.

Selection Panel

The selection panel is comprised of:

  • Sir John Kingman KCB FRS (Chair), Acting Chair of the National Gallery Board of Trustees
  • Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director, The National Gallery
  • Malcolm Reading RIBA, Chairman, Malcom Reading Consultants
  • David Marks, Trustee, The National Gallery
  • Tonya Nelson, Trustee, The National Gallery
  • Jane Wernick CBE FREng, Consultant eHRW
  • Edwin Heathcote, Architecture and design critic and author
  • Ben Bolgar, Senior Design Director, Prince’s Foundation

Press Enquiries

Tracy Jones
Head of Press, PR and Public Affairs, the National Gallery
[email protected]
+44 (0)7785 525909

Isabelle Finn
Account Manager, London Communications Agency
[email protected]
+44 (0)7738 018023

Publicity images can be obtained from the National Gallery Press Office Image Archive.