Gilbert-Ash appointed main contractor on National Portrait Gallery redevelopment

Leading construction and fit-out company, Gilbert-Ash, has embarked on a historic project which will frame the redevelopment of the National Portrait Gallery for future generations.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 6:00 am
Proposed Learning Centre

The award-winning company has begun work onsite after being appointed as the main contractor on the £35.5 million project.

Inspiring People, the Gallery’s biggest ever development since the building opened in 1896 at St Martin’s Place London, will include extensive refurbishment of the existing Grade I listed galleries.

The project, due to complete in 2023, will also include a new entrance and forecourt, which will transform the original building.

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National Portrait Gallery, London

The designs, by Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell, will also encompass a complete re-display and re-interpretation of the Gallery’s Collection across 40 refurbished galleries, presenting a wider and more diverse selection of portraits.

Additionally, the works will create new retail and catering facilities and a new Learning Centre for visitors of all ages with studios, break-out spaces and high-quality practical facilities.

Gilbert-Ash Managing Director, Ray Hutchinson said the company is proud to be working in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery on this hugely prestigious and extremely high-profile project.

He said: “The redevelopment, which is in line with our track record of taking on projects which require innovation to succeed, presents a great opportunity for Gilbert-Ash to further cement our profile in delivering outstanding landmark buildings of international significance.

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe which features in the gallery

“We look forward to working closely together, and indeed imaginatively, with the National Portrait Gallery, the architects and the other disciplines and our trusted supply chain to deliver this prestigious project.

“The National Portrait Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Our team has the knowledge and experience to make a lasting difference to this iconic building for future generations and we are really excited to start works this month.”

In addition, the Gallery’s Inspiring People project also incorporates its most extensive programme of activities nationwide with plans to engage audiences onsite, locally, regionally and online. Activity will include a UK-wide schools programme for teaching history and art through portraiture, new partnerships with museums and organisations throughout the country, and a national skills-sharing collaboration with other museums and galleries.

Ros Lawler, Chief Operating Officer, National Portrait Gallery, London said: “We are delighted to be working with Gilbert-Ash to help us realise our goal of transforming the National Portrait Gallery through our Inspiring People project. The renewed building will allow us to be more welcoming,

engaging and accessible to all, with new and refurbished galleries for exhibitions and the permanent Collection and better quality learning facilities.”

Gilbert-Ash has a unique approach to construction, fit-out and refurbishment based on the belief that great buildings come about through hard work, inspired innovation and genuine collaboration.

It continues to complete a broad portfolio of successful construction projects across sectors including arts and culture, workplace, hotels and leisure, science and technology, retail and residential.

To find out more about Gilbert-Ash visit

* The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to encourage through portraiture the appreciation and understanding of the people who have made and are making British history and culture. Today it promotes engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide-ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits.

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