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British Academy expansion by Wright & Wright

British Academy, London - image courtesy Wright & Wright/British Academy

Future Cities Forum is showcasing the work of one of its members - architects Wright & Wright. The firm is known for its impeccable work on heritage buildings and is currently undertaking a project to transform the 19th century British Academy, Carlton House Terrace, London.

The terrace is made up of white stucco-faced houses on the south side of The Mall in St James's district of the City of Westminster. The terraces were built on Crown land between 1827 and 1832 to overall design by John Nash but with input from Decimus Burton. Famous residents include Prime Ministers Lords Palmerston and William Gladstone.

Wright & Wright describe the aim and scope of the project:

'In expanding its presence in Central London, the British Academy aims to innovatively reshape how it engages with researchers, thought leaders and the public, by developing a spatially and technologically sophisticated network to promote discourse in the humanities and social sciences. 

'Its Grade I listed building plays a critical role in this mission.  Originally designed by John Nash, the Carlton House Terrace will be remodeled and optimised by Wright & Wright, thereby transcending its origins as a set of grand dwellings into an incubator of ideas and a crucible of public engagement.

'Drawing on the building’s history, the visual richness of the original architecture informs the language of the rejuvenated spaces to generate an evocative synthesis of new and old, underscored by an environmentally conscious design approach that will equip the building for the challenges of the future.  The future British Academy will serve as a distinguished and delightful new forum for intellectual interaction in the heart of London.

'Central to the project is the design of a new auditorium at the heart of the Academy and three flexible event spaces to host discussion and debate.  The Academy’s interior is indisputably magnificent and over time, changes to the fabric have always been carried out in an original and dynamic way.

'The ambition for these new works is to transform under-used spaces on the lower floors, improve visitor flow and accessibility, and activate the building as an armature for exchange, capable of sustaining a range of in-person, digital and hybrid activities, thereby enabling the Academy to reach an ever-wider, international audience.'


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