As the nation’s first public gallery dedicated to photography, the Photographers’ Gallery holds a special place in the heart of British photographers. The gallery wanted to refurbish and extend the spaces; O’Donnell + Tuomey designed the project up until planning, and we then took it through the detailed design and delivery stages.
Photography is an art form which relies very much on technology, and we knew that the gallery spaces would need to reflect this. We also needed to think carefully about how the building would interact with its surroundings at street level – given its busy, city-centre location.
Visitors to the Photographers’ Gallery can now benefit from twice as many exhibition spaces, with two entire floors added to the original building. At street level, passers-by have views into a new café on the ground floor, as well as glimpses of a “media wall”: a curated screen exhibiting digital work.
Technology is a key part of the project. An environmentally controlled “black box” space allows the gallery to display
delicate historic photographs, many of which may never have been shown to the public. Visitors can attend workshops and talks in a dedicated education space, and we also delivered a room devoted to quiet study.
The project has revitalised the Photographers’ Gallery for the 21st century, ensuring its continued relevance for a new generation of artists.