Towner Contemporary Art Gallery

Towner Contemporary Art Gallery

The project is a major new public building in a prime location in Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, on England’s south coast.


Eastbourne Borough Council


Eastbourne, UK







Sited next to the Grade II* listed Congress Theatre, the new building brings a twenty-first century addition to Devonshire Park, which plays host to the pre-Wimbledon annual International Ladies Tennis Tournament, and strengthen its position as Eastbourne’s cultural quarter. The Cultural Centre provides a new home for the Towner Art Gallery collection, as well as providing new conference exhibition space, community activity rooms, gallery and retail facilities and a cafe.

The building incorporates art storage for the Towner permanent collection and is designed to enable the public to view the Gallery’s entire collection for the first time. Flexible spaces have been designed to accommodate touring exhibitions, conferencing and the promotion of education and learning with the building, acting as a base for community outreach programmes. The design of the new building is informed by many factors including views, circulation and the scale and nature of neighbouring existing buildings.

Conference and exhibition spaces are located at ground level with independent access encouraging multi-functional use. Galleries are stacked vertically adjacent to the existing Congress Theatre, allowing connections between the buildings on all floors. These links encourage sharing of facilities and the option to function together, or independently if required. Community spaces and meeting rooms are arranged over the top two floors, with the cafe and roof terrace opening out to views across the South Downs to Beachy Head.

Gavin Miller Project Director for Rick Mather Architects

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2020 Museum of the Year, Arts Fund - Winner

2016 Family Friendly Museums Award - Shortlisted

2015 Arts Award - Good Practice status

Awarded by Trinity College London and Arts Council England, in recognition of the depth and breadth of creative practice in delivering the Arts Award, a nationally recognised qualification in the Arts on the Qualification and Credit Framework.

2013 RICS South East Award, Building Conservation & Tourism and Leisure Categories - Shortlisted

2011 Civic Trust Award - Winner

2010 RIBA Award, and Sussex Heritage Trust Award


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