The Wilson wins a national architecture award

Published on 26th June 2014

The Wilson option

The Wilson, Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum, follows its two RIBA South West 2014 architecture awards with a third award from RIBA, this time at the national level.

And this is again in recognition of the striking new building, designed by architects Berman Guedes Stretton. The awards are to highlight the best examples of design across the UK. The Wilson, which was up against over 500 entries to the competition, is now in the company of other major UK buildings who won; such as the new Library of Birmingham, the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth and Tate Britain, Millbank Project.

The rebuilding of The Wilson was one of most significant development projects that Cheltenham has had for many years, costing in the region of £6.3 million. The new building is light and spacious with a focus on providing practical and versatile areas within which a variety of work can be displayed. Since reopening in October 2013, over 130,000 visitors have been through the doors at The Wilson, and many have commented on how successful they feel the rebuild has been, and importantly, how well they feel the collections are interpreted and displayed. 

Four new floors house a gallery dedicated to The Wilson’s extensive fine art collection, space to discover more about local heroes, including the great Edward Wilson (one of Scott’s key men on his 1912 expedition to Antarctica), a re-interpreted Arts and Crafts gallery (showing the world-renowned designated collection), and two superb temporary exhibition galleries – for showing national and international touring shows, special highlights from the collections and fun shows for families.

The reopening was celebrated with the arrival in February of Rodin’s famous ‘The Kiss’ sculpture which took pride of place in the new Atrium area of the ground floor, and then by an official opening by Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester on 30th May 2014. 

Councillor Rowena Hay responded by saying, “This is very exciting news. We’ve been really pleased with all the positive attention The Wilson has received since its reopening, and to get an award of this calibre for the building at so high a level is the icing on the cake, and something for the whole town of Cheltenham to be proud of.”

Jane Lillystone, Museum, Arts & Tourism Manager comments: “We are over the moon with the news that The Wilson has won a RIBA National Award – to have the building, and the work of Berman Guedes Stretton, recognised in this way alongside such fantastic buildings like Tate Britain and the London Aquatics Centre is a real accolade.”

Notes to editor:

The Wilson

The Wilson, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum re-opened to the public on the 5th October 2013, after a major new build costing in the region of £6.3 million. Designed by architects Berman Guedes Stretton, the new building offers something for everybody, whether they are local to the area, or coming to Cheltenham for the first time. The Wilson houses an extensive fine art collection, a re-interpreted Arts and Crafts gallery (showing the world-renowned designated collection), and includes two superb temporary exhibition galleries – for showing national and international touring shows, special highlights from the collections and fun shows for families.

The Wilson is also the new home for the town’s tourism services - with the re-location of Cheltenham’s Tourist Information Centre to the Art Gallery & Museum.  The Wilson operates as part of Cheltenham Borough Council.

For more details, visit http://www.thewilson.org/ and for tourist information, visit http://www.visitcheltenham.com/