'Soul Food 4 All Day'; part of Black History Month, Oct 2003. Demonstration by award-winning chef Orlando.

'Soul Food 4 All Day'; part of Black History Month, Oct 2003. Demonstration by award-winning chef Orlando.

Caroline Lang, Sackler Centre Project Manager

In the brief to the architects I outlined the kinds of visitors we expected to have and what they would be doing. For example, the cookery demonstration shown here took place in a space that was far from ideal. We want the spaces in the Centre to work for all our visitors and accommodate a wide range of programmes at different times of the day and evening.

The Sackler Centre will also function, at times, as an arts centre and venue, opening outside normal Museum hours. Facilities for digital media and access considerations had to be integrated into the design throughout. Softroom worked out how to allocate functions to the spaces available which required a considerable amount of discussion, and, in a building that is not a new one, some compromises inevitably had to be made.

Eventually a plan, which we feel makes good use of the building, was agreed. We will have 1,762 square meters, more than double the space currently allocated to educational use. Facilities will include:                

  • A large reception area, and information point where staff will welcome and advise visitors to the Centre.
  • A public space for display of the work of participants in onsite and outreach programmes, alongside works from the collections.
  • A seminar room and an auditorium capable of seating up to 75 and 140 respectively, for general courses and teaching programmes as well as professional conferences, events and films.
  • A high quality practical art studio with capacity for 35.
  • Two studios for artists, designers and craftspeople in residence.
  • A digital studio equipped with the latest technology, used both for structured courses and independent investigation, accommodating 35.
  • A large lunchroom with cloaks space, which will also be used at weekends and holidays for large-scale activities and events and in the evenings as a bar.
  • Excellent new toilets.
  • Storage for equipment, materials, objects to support teaching programmes, events and activities in the Sackler Centre.
  • A Green Room for visiting speakers.
  • An office/ staff room for events assistants.