Features / art

The Royal West of England Academy and UWE students collaborate to redesign the gallery

By lowie trevena, Wednesday Mar 20, 2019

One of the city’s best-loved galleries, the prestigious Royal West of England Academy (RWA), have invited students from UWE to imagine designs for its redevelopment.

The RWA is undergoing a transformation that will renovate and enhance the gallery, including improving its carbon footprint and stopping the roof collapsing, as well as improving the space for visitors by opening up its austere entrance and modernising the café and shop. Many  more changes are planned, including building on community engagement – where collaborating with the local students plays a part.

Final year Interior Architecture students at UWE submitted designs to extend and redevelop the RWA. Ideas included everything from modest adjustments to the Grade II listed building to more radical transformations, including the addition of new pavilions to create space to display new kinds of art such as video and virtual reality exhibits.

Alison Bevan, director of the RWA, says: “We’re delighted to have had access to the outstanding creative minds of UWE Bristol’s interior architecture course. This collaboration has given us some fantastic ideas for ways we can re-imagine the space to help us deliver our commitment to bring great art to everyone, and promote the understanding and enjoyment of art to a wider audience.”

The students’ designs will go on display in an exhibition called ‘Re-Imagining the RWA’

David Littlefield, senior lecturer in Interior Architecture at UWE said: “It’s a pleasure working with this important cultural institution in Bristol.”

The exhibition runs until April 7 and entry is free. Find out more about the RWA’s transformation here: www.rwa.org.uk/support-us/light-and-inspiration-capital-project

See some of the students’ reimagining of the gallery below:

Amy Hawkin


Lorien Millidge


Isabel Russel


Lena Mangels


Katie Collins

Read more: Sector spotlight: Architecture

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