Sainsbury Wing, National Gallery, London

Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown
Date Built
Pall Mall
The Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery in London's Trafalgar Square, occupies the site of a former department store destroyed by bombing in WWII.  The plan to add this extension to the gallery initiated an architectural competition and, considering the sensitivity of the site, the usual controversy.  As an article on in 2011 said, "... The project for the extension of the National Gallery proved one of the most fiercely contested battle lines in the culture wars between modernists and traditionalists that characterised architectural debate in the eighties and early nineties."

Designs were entered from a number of architects with the firm of Ahrends, Burton and Koralek being the one that was finally selected.  However, a storm of controversy stirred up by the intervention of Prince Charles, who described the design as, "... a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend", resulted in the plan being dropped.  In the end the commission went to the apparently more Charles-friendly practice of Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown.  Their post-modern plan had a facade that blended in with the 19th century building next door.

With a contribution of £50million from Lord Sainsbury and two of his brothers, the galleries created within the new wing became home to the National's collection of Renaissance paintings.

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