The Keeper’s House will open to the public on 30 September following a major redevelopment, transforming facilities for visitors and supporters. The £6.5 million project has been led by award-winning architects Long & Kentish, with interiors designed by David Chipperfield Architects and the garden designed by leading landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith, while the catering is managed by the renowned restaurateur Oliver Peyton. Works of art by Royal Academicians, including Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and Michael Craig Martin, and from the Royal Academy Collection are on display throughout the building. The space includes a new restaurant, cocktail bar, garden and refurbished lounges, providing a home for artists and art lovers in the heart of Mayfair.
The Keeper’s House enables the Royal Academy to offer more to Friends, Patrons, Royal Academicians and the general public through increased social spaces and extended opening hours. The project has been funded by the Friends of the Royal Academy; William and Maureen Shenkman; Sir Simon & Lady Robertson; Mr Richard S Sharp; the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust; the Japanese Committee of Honour of the Royal Academy of Arts; Sir David & Lady Bell; The Coral Samuel Charitable Trust; Sir Nicholas Grimshaw CBE PPRA; Sir Ronald Grierson; the Founding Supporters’ of the Keeper’s House and several other private donors.
Located in the eastern wing of the Academy’s historic Burlington House building, the Keeper’s House was built in the 1870s as the central London home for the Keeper of the Royal Academy. It is directly accessible from both the Royal Academy’s Courtyard and inside the front hall of Burlington House. Friends of the Royal Academy, Patrons and Royal Academicians will have all-day access to this unique venue, while the public can enjoy it from 4pm until midnight.
The renovation has modernised the spaces used by the Friends of the Royal Academy. The Sir Hugh Casson and Belle Shenkman Rooms have been refurbished to create relaxing high quality spaces where visitors can enjoy drinks and a light menu. The project has opened up the previously unused lower-ground floor to create the new restaurant, the Shenkman Bar and garden. The restaurant displays original architectural features and casts from the RA Collection, offering a more formal dining experience throughout the day and evening. The Shenkman Bar and garden will open from 12 noon until late, with tea and coffee available during the afternoon as well as cocktails and fine spirits served into the night, designed by Peyton and Bryne’s mixologists.
In addition the Keeper’s House comprises the refurbishment of the Academicians’ Room on the first floor, an impressive grand space originally designed by Norman Shaw RA, and the Grimshaw Library, which will provide a designated area for Royal Academicians and their guests. The new facilities also feature a glass atrium lift connecting the Royal Academy Schools and the research library for the first time, Wi-Fi throughout, a dedicated cloakroom and additional toilets.
Christopher Le Brun, President of the Royal Academy of Arts, said: “From the outset, our ambition has been to create not just improved and expanded facilities for our Friends but to create a new home at the RA for a wide number of audiences to use and enjoy. We are extremely grateful to the Friends of the Royal Academy, and the other trusts and individuals who have generously supported the project, as well as to the Royal Academicians and designers who have helped us to bring the rooms to life with their inspiring ideas and designs”.
Photography credit: Tim Mitchell / arcaidimages.com