Sectional model reveals the oval hall and research centre

National Gallery NG200

Shortlisted entry in international design competition to refurbish the National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing ahead of bicentennial celebrations in 2024.

David Kohn Architects' shortlisted entry in the National Gallery's NG200 competition proposed a celebratory, inclusive and sustainable vision for the refurbished Sainsbury Wing and bicentenary celebrations.

The Gallery's brief sought to improve the arrival sequence now that 6 million annual visitors enter through the Sainsbury Wing. The brief's challenge is to respect the Grade I listed Venturi Scott Brown-designed masterpiece whilst delivering major improvements to the visitor experience.

We studied in detail the collection, gallery and work of Venturi Scott Brown in order to arrive at a specific and rigorous approach to the refurbishment. The jury "was impressed by the quality of intellectual engagement in the interview and praised the playful and theatrical aspects of the team’s proposed design approach."

Proposals centred on a new double height oval entrance hall, inspired by Venturi's admiration of interiors that contradict buildings' exteriors, for example Manchuca's Palace of Charles V. A major public interior directly off Trafalgar Square, the hall would both celebrate visitors' arrival whilst also functioning as a venue for performances and events.

The public realm strategy proposed a significant greening of the northern terrace of Trafalgar Square and Jubilee Walk. New paving centred on the oval hall was inspired by Michelangelo's Campidoglio in Rome while the architecture of the interior,  temporary pavilions and booths were similarly inspired by paintings in the collection. 


Gallery Renovation
Open Competition


Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom


National Gallery




Completed 2021

Construction Value


Design Team

David Kohn, Jess Lyons, Jennifer Dyne, Bushra Mohammed, Francis Henderson, Tarn Phillips, Yoav Caspi, Callum Symmons

Todd Longstaffe-Gowan
Max Fordham
Price and Myers
Mark El-khatib
Context Office

Picture Plane

'The Assumption of the Virgin' by Botticini in the National Gallery collection
View of proposed oval arrival hall in the Sainsbury Wing
View of new entrance, landscaping and temporary 2024 pavilion
Up Axonometric of the new entrance sequence
View of proposed public realm and building interventions
"St Jerome in His Study by De Messina", in the National Gallery Collection
Isometric view of seating booth overlooking oval hall
Palace of Charles V in 'Complexity and Contradiction' by Robert Venturi
Proposed ground floor plan of Sainsbury Wing and environs