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Pringle Richards Sharratt wins planning for William Morris Gallery extenson

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects has won planning consent for a £3.75m extension to the UK’s only gallery dedicated to the work of William Morris.

The three storey scheme for the William Morris Gallery was approved by Waltham Forest Council last week. Work is due to start next summer, and it is hoped the venue in Walthamstow, east London, will be open in time for the 2012 games.

The scheme involves adding new exhibition gallery, tea room and specialist storage space. Within the main building, which will be refurbished, will be educational facilities and more exhibition space.

John Pringle, a director of the firm, said the main challenge was to design an extension which was in keeping with the main building, which was built in 1740, and was the home of Morris between 1848 and 1865. It is Grade II* listed.

“This is considered a very important building", said Pringle. “There was a wing on the side of the building which was demolished in about 1900. This project was about putting back a wing, but conveying something of its new use. It is no longer a domestic house; it has been a gallery for 60 years".

The original proposals for the site were redesigned after intervention from English Heritage and the Georgian Group, which both raised concerns that the windows envisaged were too large and dominant.

“The original concept had large windows and was more like an orangery", said Pringle. “A lot of Georgian structures did have orangeries, but the windows were reduced in size in response to those concerns".

The scheme is part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is providing £1.5m. The rest of the money is being given by a number of organisations including the Monuments Trust, the Friends of the William Morris Gallery, and Waltham Forest Council.

© Building Design 2010