The Royal Parks, as part of an initiative to make better use of its buildings, has awarded a contract to the Serpentine Gallery
to establish a new gallery in The Magazine building in Kensington Gardens. The Grade II listed building is situated on West Carriage Drive, on the north side of the Serpentine Bridge.
The project, to be known as the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, has been made possible by The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation which has given the largest single gift the Serpentine Gallery has received in its 40 year history.
Mark Camley, Chief Executive, The Royal Parks said: We are delighted to bring this unique listed building back into public use, providing an exciting new cultural destination for park visitors. The building will complement existing park features and facilities and bring real benefit to Kensington Gardens. Income generated from the licence will be invested back into the Royal Parks for everyone to enjoy. Given the challenging times that lie ahead this is a really positive piece of news and a good example of an initiative that will increase our offer to park visitors and raise funds at the same time.
Julia Peyton-Jones, Director and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery said: This is an opportunity of a lifetime for the Serpentine Gallery. We have been interested in the potential of the building for some time and how it could help us expand the range of what we do. In these challenging times, we feared the opportunity would be lost. We are very grateful to our long-term friends for their very generous assistance, which has made it possible for us to create this exciting, new platform for the UK and beyond.
The building will be fully renovated by Pritzker Prize winning architect Zaha Hadid who will create a new destination for contemporary culture. Plans include an adjoining pavilion to be used as a social space and restaurant, creating a permanent architectural landmark in the heart of London.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallery will become an exciting new cultural destination for London, discovering the best new international talents from the worlds of art and beyond. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, like the Serpentine Gallery, will be free of charge and accessible to all, with public engagement and cultural learning at its heart. It is due to open in time for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Serpentine Sackler Gallery will offer over 880 square meters of galleries and social space, approximately equal to the Serpentine Gallerys footprint.
Commissioning new work will be at the heart of the Serpentine Sackler Gallerys programmes. These will include an annual large-scale light installation inside the building and outdoor playscape for children so families and adults of all ages can explore art through creative play.
The Serpentine Sackler Gallerys visitor facilities will include a restaurant and café, and a shop offering the best and most affordable examples of contemporary design, thus providing the Serpentine Gallery with additional revenue generating facilities.
In addition to the The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Serpentine Gallery received a donation from ICAP plc in 2009 towards the initial research and development of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery.
The new Gallery is subject to planning permission and listed building consent. A planning application is due for submission in 2011.