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Work Starts at National Portrait Gallery
- May 5, 2021

Gilbert-Ash has announced that it has embarked on a historic project to frame the redevelopment of the National Portrait Gallery for future generations.

Gilbert-Ash has begun work on-site after being appointed as main contactor on the £35.5M project. ‘Inspiring People’, the National Portrait Gallery’s largest development since it opened in 1896 at St Martin’s Place, London, will include an extensive refurbishment of the existing Grade I listed galleries. The project is set for completion in 2023 and is to include a new entrance and forecourt which will transform the original building.

The designs by Jamie Fobert Architects working with Purcell will encompass a complete re-display and re-interpretation of the Gallery’s collection across 40 refurbished galleries, presenting a wider and more diverse selection of portraits. Additionally, these works are to create new retail and catering facilities as well as a new learning centre for visitors of all ages with studios, break-out spaces and high-quality practical facilities.

Gilbert-Ash Managing Director Ray Hutchinson said: “The redevelopment, which is in line with our track record of taking on projects which require innovation to succeed, presents a great opportunity for Gilbert-Ash to further cement our profile in delivering outstanding landmark buildings of international significance.

“We look forward to working closely together, and indeed imaginatively, with the National Portrait Gallery, the architects and the other disciplines and our trusted supply chain to deliver this prestigious project.

“The National Portrait Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Our team has the knowledge and experience to make a lasting difference to this iconic building for future generations and we are really excited to start work this month.”

In addition, the Gallery’s Inspiring People project also incorporates its most extensive programme of activities nationwide with plans to engage audiences on-site, locally, regionally and online. Activity will include a UK-wide schools programme for teaching history and art through portraiture, new partnerships with museums and organisations throughout the country, and a national skills-sharing collaboration with other museums and galleries.

Ros Lawler, Chief Operating Officer at the National Portrait Gallery, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Gilbert-Ash to help us realise our goal of transforming the National Portrait Gallery through our Inspiring People project. The renewed building will allow us to be more welcoming, engaging and accessible to all, with new and refurbished galleries for exhibitions and the permanent Collection and better-quality learning facilities.”

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