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CRESCENT WING

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The brief for the Crescent Wing at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts arose from the need for more space, primarily to house the the best reserve-collection display in the world, and then to create a special gallery in which to teach museum lighting, and to provide conservation facilities for three-dimensional objects, an art transit room and additional offices and storage. Although the Sainsbury Centre was created as an open-ended building, the Sainsburys, again the benefactors, were adamant that the existing building should not be extended by extrusion, although its plan implied this as the obvious solution. Foster and Partners, working on their own building, decided that the extension should take place below ground. The basment area was extended to emerge naturally into the open, with a glazed frontage to the lake. The fan shape accommodates the 200-capacity gallery more comfortably than the original rectilinear plan. A projection room is at the pointed end, the gallery in the fan shape and the offices along the radial arc which emerges above ground, making a window out on to the lake. The study collection and laboratories fit along one arm of the fan. Lieing discreetly in the landscape, two minimal sculptural forms point to life below ground. The first is the entrance: a glazed slit in the level grass lawn with a slow decline into the ground. The second is the inclined, curved windscreen or 'eyebrow'.

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