The brief from the Saatchi Gallery was that the display of the collection should be paramount and that the architectural details of the interiors should be suppressed in favour of an absolutely minimal set of elegant white spaces with an understandable geometry and visual connectivity. Everything had to be subservient to the art itself.
Much of the early design work centred on an analysis of the office scheme and its almost total conversion to gallery. The principal locations of stairs and lifts were fixed and by the time the gallery agreed to lease the building, the exteriors of the new extension had already been designed in detail by PDP/Cadogan in a style complimentary to the rest of their adjacent Duke of York’s mixed use scheme. There was no opportunity for AHMM to bring any influence to bear on the architecture of the new extension. Planning permission had been obtained after long negotiation with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and there was no time within a tight building programme to restart that process......more