Dulwich Picture Gallery, the first public art gallery in England, was designed by John Soane in 1811 and opened in 1817. Over the years a series of additions and extensions were made, but public facilities remained sparse until, in 1990, an architectural competition was held to explore how the building might be extended to better accommodate visitors.

Rather than compromise Soane’s gallery by building alongside it, Allies and Morrison proposed the construction of a separate pavilion located along the College Road frontage, immediately adjacent to the entrance. This established a new enclosing wall to the site and reinforced the sense of an entrance courtyard already implied by the almshouses and anticipated in some of Soane’s early sketches for the museum. Soane’s building would continue to dominate the buildings approach while on departure the entrance to the new pavilion would be apparent. Beyond, the glazed wall of the cafe would open out towards the gardens.

Within the new building the functions of reception, bookshop, tea room and multipurpose hall were arranged to reduce unnecessary circulation, encourage flexibility in use and minimise the level of security supervision.


Dulwich Picture Gallery


2nd Place
Dulwich Village
London SE21