AIA’s Twenty-five Year Award is conferred on a building that has set a precedent for the last 25-35 years and continues to set standards of excellence for its architectural design and significance.
Architects Robert Venturi, FAIA, and Denise Scott Brown, FAIA—VSBA founding principals—sought to relate the new wing to the National Gallery while maintaining the wing’s own identity as a work of modern architecture. A play on Italian Mannerism, the Sainsbury Wing demonstrates the architects’ acknowledgement of modern conditions while exploring classical architecture’s conventions. Providing grade access to the entire gallery, the wing boasts an entrance accessible to all visitors, in contrast to the original building.
Spanning 120,000-square-feet, Sainsbury Wing is one of the world’s most visited collections of early Italian and Northern Renaissance paintings. Its original design is still largely intact and has had few alterations since its completion. In 2018, Historic England, the government arm charged with protecting England’s historic treasures, bestowed Grade I status on the wing, propelling it into the ranks of the country’s most architecturally significant buildings.