Delfina Foundation announces new building designed by Cairo and London architects

By Culture24 Reporter | 25 July 2012
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A computer graphic image of a figure moving through a bright modern indoor art space
The Delfina Foundation takes a sideways step for its latest leap forward
© Courtesy Delfina Foundation
Delfina Foundation, the London art complex within yards of Buckingham Palace which has become renowned for its work with artists and groups from the Middle East and North Africa, has finalised plans for a 4,500 square foot venue in an adjacent building, creating the largest international artist residency space in the capital.

A black and white image of plans for a multi-storey modern arts complex with people
The plans will create the largest artist residency space in London
© Courtesy Delfina Foundation
In a design chosen to reflect the collaborative style of the Foundation, the London-based Studio Octopi and Cairo-based Shahira Fahmy Architects will realise their proposal for the building at 31 Catherine Place, allowing Delfina to make the shortest of moves from its current period townhouse at number 29.

Ancient interiors and ornamentation in the historic buildings will be peeled back to increase the light and space inside both locations, accommodating 1,650 square feet of exhibition and event space, eight bedrooms and various flexible workrooms for artists.

“We are proposing a playful exploration around the idea of the hearth as ‘homeplace’ and ‘place-maker”,” explained a representative of Studio Octopi, who said the designers had taken an artistic and archaeological approach to their blueprint.

“The embodied history of the place is important to our studio’s work as a whole.”

“We can preserve the essence of each house without losing the atmosphere,” added a statement from Shahira Fahmy, who will “leave traces of the voids” from old staircases in the new building.

The Foundation was formed in 2007 as a successor to the Delfina Studio Trust. The organisation has worked with hundreds of artists, curators and writers from dozens of different countries, supporting several Turner Prize nominees alongside partnerships with the likes of Tate, Frieze art Fair and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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