Norman Foster's Sainsbury Centre ? the first high-tech art gallery - architecture and design

Norman Foster's Sainsbury Centre ? the first high-tech art gallery



Continuing our high-tech architecture series, we look at how the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts by Norman Foster marked the style's transition from industrial to cultural buildings.
Completed in 1978 the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts was the first cultural building designed by Foster and his wife Wendy at their studio, which at the time was called Foster Associates and is now Foster + Partners.
Built to house the art collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, UK, the building is a 135-metre-long, simple lattice steel structure that is glazed at both ends.

It marks the first time that the expressed structure of the emerging high-tech style, which has now been applied to numerous museums and art galleries around the world, was used for a major cultural building. Until this time the expressed structure of high-tech architecture was only deemed appropriate for industrial and office buildings, according to Foster.
Photo is by Nigel Young
"The Sainsbury Centre was at that time the first public building for a fledgling practice," Foster told Dezeen.
"Perhaps that expression of the structure, maybe it was considered appropriate for an industrial building, maybe it was considered appropriate for a commercial and office building," he continued.
"For the Sainsbury Centre, as a building for the arts to embrace an industrial typology, that was almost unthinkable, that was revolutionary."
Photo is by Nigel ...
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