Proposals by the gallery’s original architect, David Chipperfield, would see the creation of a 100-room building on the seafront next to the gallery.
Turner Contemporary says it is “extremely supportive” of plans to boost income by building a 100-room hostel on the sea front for visitors attending events related to its exhibitions programme.
Drawn up by the gallery’s original architect, David Chipperfield, the plans aim to provide new opportunities to explore Margate as the town prepares to host the Turner Prize in 2019.
The comments come as the gallery calls for public involvement in plans to “reconfigure” the building amidst concern the institution is “at capacity” and at risk of delivering a lower-quality visitor experience.
Speaking to the Architects Journal, Chipperfield said his plans, which include a café, meeting rooms and social spaces, would generate an annual income and help safeguard the gallery’s financial situation.
The architect added that the scheme “would provide very basic accommodation at affordable rates to allow visitors beyond the local area to spend time in Margate, particularly in connection with the activities of the gallery”.
Responding to the proposals, a gallery spokesperson told AP the organisation “is extremely supportive of this idea” and is working with partners “to realise a new vision to ensure that it is more sustainable”.
The developments come as Turner Contemporary prepares to consult the public on changes to the building amidst concern about the gallery’s sustainability.
A spokesperson stressed that the gallery’s success in attracting far higher visitor numbers than initially anticipated has meant the building is at capacity, and increasing demand is “threatening to compromise the high-quality cultural offer, and the quality of the visitor experience”. 2.9 million people have visited the gallery since it opened seven years ago, which Turner Contemporary says has contributed £68m to the local economy.
The public are invited to attend an event next week to discuss reconfiguring the building for the future, including the design and potential timescales.
“Whilst being sensitive to the integrity of the architecture, we will reconfigure the building to enable us to work even more creatively, connect with more visitors, artists, children and young people, increase cultural tourism and generate vital income to support our work,” a spokesperson said.
Turner Contemporary has already been awarded £3m by Arts Council England (ACE) to extend the main gallery building, generate space for extra staff and extend the artistic and learning programmes.
The gallery says it will be submitting a Stage 2 funding application to ACE by mid-December.