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Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

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Status  Complete
Construction started  1974
Architectural style  High-tech architecture
Architect  Norman Foster
Type  Art gallery and museum
Completed  1978
Phone  +44 1603 593199
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
Location  UEA, Norwich, England, UK
Address  University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Hours  Open today · 9AM–6PMTuesday9AM–6PMWednesday9AM–6PMThursday9AM–6PMFriday9AM–6PMSaturday10AM–5PMSunday10AM–5PMMondayClosedSuggest an edit
Similar  Felbrigg Hall, RAF Air Defence Radar Mu, East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norwich Castle, The Broads
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Sainsbury centre for visual arts museum of the year 2014 finalist


The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is an art gallery and museum located on the campus of the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. The building, which contains a collection of world art, was one of the first major public buildings to be designed by the architect Norman Foster, completed in 1978. The building became grade II* listed in December 2012.

Contents

Sainsbury centre for visual arts context fann xi


Design

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts building was opened in 1978. It was designed between 1974 and 1976 by the then relatively unknown architect Norman Foster (now Lord Foster). According to Chris Abel, the building exemplifies Foster's early work of "a regular structure embracing all functions within a single, flexible enclosure, or 'universal space'" where "the design is all about allowing for change, internally and externally." The Sainbury Centre also demonstrates Foster's characteristic work methods of "design development", or "integrated design". It is situated on the western edge of the university's campus, beside the River Yare, and also houses the School of World Art Studies and Museology. Foster said of the building "A building is only as good as its client and the architecture of the Sainsbury Centre is inseparable from the enlightenment and the driving force of the Sainsburys themselves and the support of the University of East Anglia."

The main building is sited on sloping, turfed ground, and consists of a large cuboid, clad steel structure. One face is almost entirely glazed, with the prefabricated skeleton clearly visible. Internally, the museum gives the impression of being one vast open space, lacking any internal divisions to interfere with the interplay of natural and artificial light. Services, lighting, toilets and maintenance access are housed in triangular towers and trusses, and between the external cladding and internal aluminium louvres.

By the late 1980s the collection had outgrown its accommodation, and Foster was asked to design an extension. Rather than simply extending the existing structure as had been envisaged 15 years earlier, it was decided to look below ground. The sloping site allowed for an enlarged basement to emerge at a curved glass frontage overlooking a man-made lake (an echo of the nearby 13th century Norfolk Broads). There is little clue of the extent of the new wing, except when viewed from the position of this lake. The crescent wing was built by Anthony Hunt Associates and opened in 1991.

Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection

In 1973 Sir Robert Sainsbury and Lady Lisa Sainsbury donated to the university their collection of over 300 artworks and objects, which they had been accumulating since the 1930s. The collection has since increased in size to several thousand works spanning over 5000 years of human endeavour, including pieces by Jacob Epstein, Henry Moore (numerous sculptures can be found dotted around the grounds of the university), Alberto Giacometti, and Francis Bacon, alongside art from Africa (including a 'Fang Reliquary Head' from Gabon and the Nigerian 'Head of an Oba'), Asia, North and South America, the Pacific region, medieval Europe and the ancient Mediterranean.

Filming Location

In June 2014 the Centre was used for filming several scenes of the motion picture Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man.

References

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Wikipedia


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