Main Facade.

On the corner of Trafalgar Square is Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates' 1988-91 addition to London's National Gallery. This new building is a contemporary addition to the square and makes every effort to declare its construction period yet blend into the classical surroundings.

This contextual blend is achieved through a wall placed in the front of the building. The material used is stone and it contains columns, capitals, moldings, cornices and other elements designed in reference other nearby buildings, especially the National Gallery. Where the edge of this wall is closest to the National Gallery, these architectural elements are placed close together, almost sacking atop one another because they are so dense. Moving across the facade and farther from the National Gallery, the elements are spaced farther and farther apart and begin to hide within the stone. When the end of the wall is reached, farthest from the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square, the stone wall is virtually flat and without detail.

Behind this wall the building states its modern presence. The wall is an isolated element which never comes into physical contact with its existing surroundings. It is as autonomous as any good modern building should be. The main entrance to the Sackler Galleries a large rectangle punched through this stone wall. It almost appears to be arbitrarily placed with its location determined by functional needs only. Stepping back from the building, elements of contemporary construction can be seen projecting above the stone wall. Aluminum -framed skylights and cladding are in plain view. The backside of the building is wrapped in a brick veneer with some patterning in the coursing but appears utilitarian otherwise.


Comparison of classical orders of the National Gallery and Venturi's play with columns on the new addition.


Round connector between old and new galleries. Glass curtain wall of the Sainsbury's main staircase also visible.


Flat security gates of the new gallery. Nelson's Column in background.



The rear of the Sainsbury Wing.


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