Pringle Richards Sharratt completes the new Herbert Art Gallery
This project consists of two main elements which create accommodations including new temporary and permanent exhibition galleries, history centre reading room, a new archive for the city and other significant collections, arcade orientation space, a café, shop and tourist information centre.
The project also consisted of a conversion of the existing building to provide galleries for the city’s art and natural history collections, museum stores, conservation studios, loading bay, further education spaces and administration offices.
The primary constraints were the relationship between the new building and the new University Square, the setting of the Grade 1 listed Cathedral the existing Herbert building and the Mediaeval vault within the site. The form of the building responds to both the Medieval context of the area and the post-war reconstruction of the city, with a new space that draws the public from the new square into the museum.
The former back of the building is now a new front facing the Cathedral, with an arcade connecting it to the old main entrance. A new glazed public arcade extends the public realm through the building, forming a nucleus for the whole complex, flanked by two levels of galleries on one side and the single storey History Centre on the other.
The landscape outside is equally important and the new Peace Garden commemorates the bombing of Coventry during the war and marks the outline of the former houses that occupied the site, with Corten walls engraved with the names of their occupants between the 1400s and 1940.