After many years and many many many pounds, the new Royal Academy of Arts extension (designed by David Chipperfield Architects) is finally about to open its doors (on May 19). It features a lecture theatre, an architecture studio, new exhibition spaces and the RA's first free permanent collection gallery. They've also created a little subterranean bridge (tunnel? I think that's called a tunnel) between the new and old spaces and filled it with some gorgeous anatomical sculptures, while also giving visitors the chance to sneak a peek at the RA schools. The best thing though might be the little space they've given to first year RA students - it's a real chance to spot some future big names and might just be one of the most interesting things a major London institution has done in a long time. Here are some images to give you a little taster.
Sure, this staircase looks nice from this angle, but...
From the other side, you can clearly see it's haunted by the ghosts of all the RA Schools students who have now had to go work in marketing *shudder*.
In less frightening news, here's the lecture theatre. You can tell it's a good lecture theatre because only 84% of the attendees look bored. Good stats.
This work down in the vaults exists to prove conclusively that the whole point of art is to make men feel inadequate
And here are the vaults themselves, in a photo including two women who were forced to hold these poses for at least 11 minutes. The art world, man. Harsh place.
Turns out, you don't even need original artworks in order to make a world class art gallery, you can just whack up a massive copy of the Last Supper and job's a good'un. Great lesson for the kids, there.
To celebrate the opening of the new building, and the RA's 250th birthday, there's a whole weekend of amazing free events taking place. Get more info right here.