Transforming the facilities for Friends
Friends contribute roughly a third of the income to the Royal Academy and without our Friends, the modern RA would not exist. However, with so many Friends, many of whom live outside London, it is in our interest to provide better facilities for our most valued supporters. The RA is therefore delighted to announce our plans for the Keeper’s House.
Architectural Sketches of the Friends room transformations: Long & Kentish © Royal Academy of Arts.
Originally a grace-and-favour home for the Keeper (who runs the Royal Academy Schools), it was added by architect Sydney Smirke RA to Lord Burlington’s eighteenth-century mansion and houses the current Friends’ rooms. ( Find out more about the history
The current rooms on the ground floor will be redesigned, making them more comfortable with improved seating, lighting and catering. The spaces immediately below the Friends’ rooms will be transformed into a restaurant and the Shenkman Bar that will remain open into the evening, more than doubling the existing space. The rooms will host regular events for art lovers across the generations. And, very importantly, there will be disabled access, additional toilet facilities and another cloakroom to reduce the need to queue in the main entrance. ( Find out more about the plans
Architectural Sketches of the Friends room transformations: Long & Kentish © Royal Academy of Arts. Our purpose throughout is to improve the experience of both new Friends and existing Friends and their families when they come to the Royal Academy. Great care has also been taken to ensure that facilities for Friends remain open throughout the development work, and that any disruption will be minimal.
Putting these plans into action has only been made possible by the loyalty and generosity of our Friends, whose membership subscriptions have made a significant contribution. We look forward to welcoming Friends old and new following completion of the Keeper’s House in Spring 2013.
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