If you are a friend of the RA or just a member of the art loving community, beginning this Monday the 30th of September, 2013, the Keepers house will open to the public! We know what you might be thinking, what exactly is the keeper’s house, what is it’s affiliation with the RA, and how can it benefit you? Well, just located in the eastern wing of the Academy’s historic Burlington house building, the Keeper’s house was built in the 1870’s as the central London home for the keeper of the royal academy. It is directly accessible from both the RA’s Courtyard and inside the front hall of the Burlington House. This major redevelopment, which has completely re – transformed all facilities for visitors and supporters, is opening just in time to help you get through the winter season in all of the right ways.
Although it might seem like a secret passageway that can come off to some as ‘off limits’ this newly refurbished art mansion embodies all of the ingredients for a unique place to sit down and gather one’s thoughts just before or after you embark on an art enriching experience. It’s classically awakened structures help to solidify enlightening perspectives, where whispers and footsteps from artists such as John Constable and Lowry to Ron Arad and Tracy Emin can be felt from all corners and crevices. Arousing fruitful curiosities and endeavors making it well worth the RA friendly membership and of course the overall visit.
The 6.5 million pound project has been led by award winning architects Long and Kentish, with interiors designed by David Chipperfield Architects and a delightful garden designed by leading London landscape designer Tom Stuart Smith. While the foundation of this grandiose architectural hub has been designed by some of the most experienced in the creative scene, where their collaborative efforts have helped to provide a new restaurant, cocktail bar, garden and refurbished lounges, the walls are fantastically adorned with an eclectic range of works from Royal Academicians such as: Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, and Michael Craig Martin.
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 Shenkamn bar and garden. Prepare yourself to embark on an underground journey where cocktails are handled with the utmost care and fantastic service is unprecedented. And not to mention- the food! The menu and catering has been created and devised by the renowned restauranteur Oliver Peyton. His infatuating ingredients titillate all of the appropriate tastebuds allowing for a delightful experience on all fronts. Whats even cooler, is this unique restaurant displays original architectural features and casts from the RA collection, offering a more formal dining experience throughout the day and evening.
If you might not be feeling like a massive meal, choose the alternative just across the hallway and catch a cocktail or coffee before or after a show @The Shenkman bar and garden, which will open from 12 noon until late, designed by Peyton and Bryne’s mixologists.
In addition, the Keeper’s House compromises the refurbishment of the Academician’s 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.”
10am-4pm Daily (Friends, Patrons, and supporters of the RA)
4pm-12am Mondays to Thursdays (Members of the Public)
4pm-12.30 am Fridays to Saturdays (Members of the Public)
4pm-6pm Sundays (Members of the Public)
Photgraphs courtesy of: Tim Mitchell www.arcaidimages.com