Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum
Cheltenham, England

The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum is clearly in need of a strong presence on the street. Currently a collection of attractive, yet disparate elements, the museum would greatly profit from an easily recognizable architecture identity.

Our scheme respects the scale and rhythm of the street and the city, yet introduces an architectural stone screen to the façade that reprises the original library building, creating a dialogue among the three buildings of the museum. The openings in the stone screen are designed to resonate with the 1989 extension.

At the street level, a minor modification has been designed to enable the 1989 extension to join the continuous glass elements of the new building. Continuing the typical storefront glass elements in the block, the new entry to the museum allows the pedestrian to see glimpses of the new gallery. The modification to the 1989 extension also allows the café to be easily accessible to the street. The street façade contains a translucent glass element which shields the new entry way and stair element beyond.

On the interior, the organized linear element of the existing long gallery circulation continues across all of the buildings, creating a clear orientation to the gallery spaces. A large skylight over the long spine emphasizes the location of the vertical circulation elements at the lobby.

A new grand staircase provides a gracious vertical circulation and access to the more public offerings of the museum. At ground level, a more open public lobby allows the community access to the café, temporary gallery, bookstore and a path through to Chester Walk.