Winner chosen to build new art gallery

EXCLUSIVEBy Roddy AshworthTHIS is the winning design for the multi-million-pound art gallery planned for an historic town.The winner of the competition to design a new home for Firstsite, Colchester's internationally-renowned art gallery, will be formally named today as Rafeal Vinoly Architects.

EXCLUSIVE

By Roddy Ashworth

THIS is the winning design for the multi-million-pound art gallery planned for an historic town.

The winner of the competition to design a new home for Firstsite, Colchester's internationally-renowned art gallery, will be formally named today as Rafael Vinoly Architects.


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It will also be announced that the construction of the new gallery is unlikely to require the demolition of Colchester's bus station, a proposal that had raised concern among some residents.

The bronze crescent-shaped design was among 107 put forward in the contest, which was run by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

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It will be built in the St Botolph's area of Colchester as part of a major new masterplan to regenerate shopping, transport and leisure facilities there.

Colchester Borough Council anticipates the gallery will draw tens of thousands of extra visitors to the town each year, boosting its economy and reputation as a centre of cultural excellence.

About £14million-worth of investment has been earmarked for the construction of a contemporary art gallery.

Sources close to the Royal Institute of British Architects said Rafael Vinoly Architects had been chosen because it had looked more carefully at Colchester and the gallery's surrounding buildings than other competitors.

“The first thing Firstsite and the architects are planning to do is talk to English Heritage about the different alternatives for locating the building. They recognise it is important to get a consensus on the final design and where it will be,” they said.

“The £14million of money, via the Arts Council and the East of England Development Agency, is earmarked for a contemporary landmark building and consultation shows there is local support for that.

“A traditional building would not attract any of that funding and the project would collapse.”

roddy.ashworth@eadt.co.uk

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