The Artists' General Benevolent Institution is a British charity providing assistance to professional artists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who are in financial difficulty due to illness, old age or accident.
It was founded in 1814 by members of the Royal Academy of Arts including J. M. W. Turner, John Constable and John Soane. Incorporated by Royal Charter in 1842, it is one of the oldest charities in the United Kingdom.
The AGBI is run by a Council of mostly practicing artists, applied artists, art custodians and medical professionals who give their time for free and who meet regularly to discuss cases of need.
The project at 15 Churton Street in the heart of Pimlico Conservation Area will see an existing two-storey former retail unit adapted for use as a bespoke environment for AGBI activities. A collection of calm spaces will be created across two floors including display spaces, meeting and consultation areas and workspace for AGBI personnel.
A new timber shopfront will be installed, designed to respectfully complement the street character of the Conservation Area while creating a dignified setting for the AGBI activities within. Crisp contemporary detailing and expansive glazing gives an uncluttered and welcoming expression to these new public-facing activities.
New pavement lights across the frontage allow daylight to naturally illuminate the basement level where historic vaults will be opened up to create workspaces. Extensive basement level excavations are combined with new structural steelwork interventions allowing for high ceilings and open plan spaces at each level that combine to create a calm and welcoming environment appropriate for the sensitive activities that the AGBI organisation supports.
Floors throughout will be finished in wide European Oak boards, naturally finished. All walls planes are plastered and painted creating multiple opportunity for hanging and display throughout the spaces allowing the AGBI to curate content on a changing basis. Track lighting will augment hanging displays while concealed lighting will create a calm ambience as a background to the activities. An Oak stair wraps around the edge of the space to maximise space efficiency of the floor-plates while giving discrete access to the more private lower floor.