RIBA Regional Awards 2014: Wessex
The Wilson, Cheltenham Gallery and Museum
Berman Guedes Stretton for Cheltenham Borough Council
Contract £4.5m. GIA 1,294m2
It took Jane Lillystone, Cheltenham’s museum and arts manager, years to gather funds to build this extension on an infill site, uniting two parts of the gallery and effectively creating a small, interlinked museum ‘complex’.
The building is planned with ‘striking clarity’. New galleries hover over a public ground floor reception space and a narrow atrium continuing an elegant suspended stair ‘that looks as good looking up at its underbelly as it does standing on it’. This simplicity of organisation is reflected on the front elevation, which is largely glazed, but screened with glazed tubular ceramic louvres. All in all, a top-class gallery ‘that makes the complicated look easy’, say the judges.