Royal Academy outlines grand plans to promote architecture, and link Piccadilly to Mayfair

Burlington Gardens to host a dedicated architecture space, a pair of international awards and an annual architecture exhibition

As it approaches its 250th anniversary, the Royal Academy has announced a significant expansion of its coverage of “the culture of architecture”, alongside a plan to build a direct link between Piccadilly and Mayfair, through Burlington House and Gardens.

The Burlington House-based institution, founded on the 10th December 1768, will be rolling out a dedicated architecture space, launching a pair of international awards and hosting an annual architecture exhibition.

It’s the RA’s biggest investment in architecture this century, and comes as a result of “a generous gift” from arts backers the Dorfman Foundation.

The Royal Academy’s majestic Senate Rooms in Burlington Gardens are being restored, and will become a new permanent Architecture exhibition space – called the Studio – and café, opening in 2018. A “major exhibition devoted to architecture” will also be hosted every year from 2018 in the RA galleries; the first of which is due to be announced in the Autumn.

To help with promotion, two new international architecture awards will be launched next year. Nominated and awarded by Royal Academicians alongside international curators and critics, the Royal Academy Architecture Prize will “honour an inspiring and enduring contribution to the culture of architecture”, while the Royal Academy Dorfman Award will “champion new talent in architecture”.

The inaugural awards jury will be chaired by the architect and Royal Academician Louisa Hutton. The Royal Academy Architecture Prize winner and the shortlist for the Royal Academy Dorfman Award will be announced in January 2018. In May 2018, a week-long public celebration will announce the winner of the Royal Academy Dorfman Award and also include an address by the recipient of the Royal Academy Architecture Prize.

There’s a lot going on at Burlington House for to mark the RA’s quarter-millennium, including construction of a new link between Burlington House and Burlington Gardens, creating a central route from Piccadilly to Mayfair.

Led by the architect David Chipperfield and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the plans will link Burlington House on Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens for the first time, “uniting and revitalising the two-acre site”.

RA Head of Architecture Kate Goodwin: “The RA is perfectly placed to lead an inclusive and vital discussion on architecture, championing quality, creativity and courage. Architecture is a constant presence in all our lives that is enhanced through wider ambition and vision which together these awards, the reinvigorated architecture programme and our new spaces offer.”