The American Institute of Architects has bestowed its 25 Year Award upon Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown’s Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery in London.

Described by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as a “decorated shed”, the postmodern extension to the National Gallery has won this year’s 25 Year Award for a building “that has stood the test of time for 25-35 years and continues to set requirements of excellence for its architectural design and style and significance”.

Venturi Scott Brown's postmodern Sainsbury Wing at National Gallery in London wins AIA 25 Year Award
Venturi Scott Browns extension to UK’s National Gallery has won the AIA’s 25 Year Award

Opened to the public in 1991, the project on the final remaining space in Trafalgar Square was the outcome of one particular of the UK’s most controversial architecture competitions.

The Venturi Scott Brown developing was the winner of the second competitors for the web site, following Prince Charles intervened in the very first contest – infamously calling Ahrends, Burton and Koralek’s higher-tech winning design and style a “monstrous carbuncle”.

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Venturi Scott Brown's postmodern Sainsbury Wing at National Gallery in London wins AIA 25 Year Award
The Sainsbury Wing occupies a corner of Trafalgar Square

The eventual winning design and style by Venturi and Scott Brown, who had been jointly awarded the AIA Gold Medal in 2016, was praised by the AIA for balancing each old and new aesthetics.

“A single of the finest ‘decorated sheds’ designed by Robert Venturi, and Denise Scott Brown, the Sainsbury Wing at the National Gallery in London balances old and new as a household to one particular of the world’s most visited collections of early Italian and Northern Renaissance paintings,” stated the AIA.

Venturi Scott Brown's postmodern Sainsbury Wing at National Gallery in London wins AIA 25 Year Award
The design and style, which John Sainsbury and Robert Venturi are standing more than in this image, was the winner of the second competitors for the web site

A single of the most prominent examples of postmodern architecture in the UK, the developing requires the types and columns of the 19th-century neoclassical National Gallery, but gradually reduces the components. Final year the buildings was provided Grade I listing by Historic England.

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“A play on Italian Mannerism, the wing demonstrates the duo’s sophisticated but ironic acknowledgement of modern day circumstances although completely exploring classical architecture’s conventions,” stated the AIA.

The AIA praised the developing for balancing the old and new

The AIA’s 25 Year Award has previously gone to some of the most nicely-identified buildings in the planet, like Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright, the John Hancock Center by SOM, and Frank Gehry’s residence in Santa Monica.

The prize was final presented in 2017 to IM Pei’s Grand Louvre. In 2018, the AIA chose not to bestow any developing with its 25 Year Award for the very first time considering that the prize was very first provided in 1971.

Venturi Scott Brown's postmodern Sainsbury Wing at National Gallery in London wins AIA 25 Year Award
The award was provided to the Sainsbury Wing following no developing won final year

“However, this year the jury did not uncover a submission that it felt accomplished 25 years of exceptional aesthetic and cultural relevance although also representing the timelessness and optimistic effect the profession aspires to reach,” the AIA stated in a statement to the Architect Magazine at the time.

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Venturi died final year, with Dezeen columnist Sean Griffiths amongst these to spend tribute to the postmodernist pioneer, describing him as a huge influence on the way we view architecture.

All pictures courtesy of the National Gallery.

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