The project was commissioned by the public organization Turner Contemporary, which promotes the fine arts of the past and the present, as well as the connections of the outstanding landscape painter J.M.U. Turner with Margit, where he studied, and later - lived for twenty years. He argued that Margate has “the most beautiful sky in all of Europe,” but today, with the increasing popularity of overseas holidays among the British, this town, one of the first seaside resorts in the British Isles, is not going through the best of times. Therefore, the municipal authorities are carrying out a program of reconstruction of its entire coastal zone. And one of the most important points of this plan was the construction of a gallery for Turner Contemporary. The first competition for her project was won by the Norwegian workshop Snohetta, but both the cost of their building (about 50 million pounds) and its risky location (on a pier in the sea) forced the customers to outsource the development of the project to David Chipperfield.
According to his plan, the gallery will be located on the city embankment, on the border of the Old City. It will be placed on a high terrace to protect it from the seasonal rise in sea levels. A wide staircase and a ramp will lead to the entrance to the building. The three-storey building will reach a height of 20 m and will be clearly visible from different points of Margita.
On its upper level, from where views of the sea will open, exhibition halls will appear, below there will be a gallery for exhibitions of young artists, a multifunctional auditorium for 80 people, a museum shop and a cafe.
Construction on the £ 17.4 million building will begin next summer and should be completed in 2010.
Another Chipperfield project was also recently published: it is about a new store of the Peek & Cloppenburg company, which is due to appear in Vienna. This company, which sells clothes of the world's leading brands in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, has paid special attention to the architecture of its department stores not for the first time: in autumn 2005, Peek & Cloppenburg, designed by Renzo Piano, opened in Cologne.
Chipperfield's task in Vienna was complicated by the fact that the city's central area is protected by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site. Therefore, it was necessary to fit the new building into the fabric of the historical building. The architect, instead of seeking an obvious refuge in historicism, turned to the archetypal form of a multi-storey "building with windows." But his interpretation is as abstract and laconic as possible. The facade of the five-storey building is faced with light Danube (Istrian) limestone. Its solidity, emphasized materiality is combined with the surrounding buildings. The store's central atrium, with its bronze and glass ceilings, should be reminiscent of similar solutions in the large department stores of the 19th century.