Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is an art gallery and museum located on the campus of the University of East Anglia, Norwich in the United Kingdom. It is housed in one of the first major public buildings to be designed by Norman Foster.
In 1973 Sir Robert and Lady Lisa Sainsbury donated to the university their collection of over 300 artworks and objects, which they had been accumulating since the 1930s. The collection has since increased in size to several thousand works spanning over 5000 years of human endeavor, including pieces by Jacob Epstein, Henry Moore (numerous sculptures can found dotted around the grounds of the university), Alberto Giacometti, Francis Bacon and John Davies, alongside art from Africa (including a 'Fang Reliquary Head' from Gabon and the Nigerian 'Head of an Oba'), Asia, North and South America, the Pacific region, medieval Europe and the ancient Mediterranean.
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts building was opened in 1978. It was designed between 1974 and 1976 by the then relatively unknown Norman Foster (now Lord Foster). It is situated on the western edge of the University campus, beside the River Yare, and also houses the School of World Art Studies and Museology.
The main building is sited on sloping, turfed ground, and consists of a large cuboid, cladded steel structure. One face is almost entirely glazed, with the prefabricated skeleton clearly visible. Internally, the museum gives the impression of being one vast open space, lacking any internal divisions to interfere with the interplay of natural and artificial light. Services, lighting, toilets and maintenance access are housed in triangular towers and trusses, and between the external cladding and internal aluminium louvres .
The crescent wing
By the late 1980s the collection had outgrown its accomodation, and Norman Foster was asked to design an extension. Rather than simply extending the existing structure as had been envisiaged 15 years earlier, it was decided to look below ground. The sloping site allowed for an enlarged basement to emerge at a curved glass frontage overlooking a man-made lake (an echo of the nearby prehistoric Broads). There is little clue of the extent of the new wing, except when viewed from the position of this lake. The crescent wing was built by Anthony Hunt Associates and opened in 1991.
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