The Jane Drew 1960's refurbishment was recovered as part of the DKA refurbishment

Institute of Contemporary Arts

Incremental refurbishment of London's leading contemporary arts venue

Won through invited competition in 2012, David Kohn Architects delivered a series of improvements to the Grade 1 listed ICA to meet evolving needs including a new entrance foyer, bookshop, offices and adjustments to the main gallery space.

The ICA was founded in 1947 as a radical alternative to the Royal Academy where the artistic avant-gard could engage with the pressing issues of the day. The first ICA exhibitions took place in a hired space at the Academy Hall, Oxford Street, before taking up more permanent residence at 17-18 Dover Street, Mayfair, in 1950. In 1968, the ICA moved to its present location in John Nash's Carlton House Terrace on The Mall which was refurbished to designs by Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry. 

David Kohn Architects worked closely with the ICA team and consultants to develop a conservation strategy that recovered the history of the building and most notably Jane Drew's proposals that have for the most part been covered over. Planning permission, listed building consent and Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery funding were secured. A series of incremental packages of works were then delivered to keep the ICA open and tailor budgets to the funding streams.


Refurbishment of the ICA


St James's, London




2200  m2

Construction Value

Design Team

David Kohn, Liz Betterton, Robin Turner, Matt Volsen, Kate Ivinson

Refurbished Director's Office in John Nash's Carlton House Terrace with view of Big Ben
The refurbishment involved stripping back layers to reveal the original Jane Drew 1960's scheme
Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry's 1960's plans for the ICA
Cedric Price at the ICA in 1970s