Press Release

Jamie Fobert Architects announced for Tate St Ives

Jamie Fobert Architects announced for Tate St Ives: Press related to past news.

Cornwall County Council and Tate announced today that Jamie Fobert Architects have been selected for the Phase Two Development of Tate St Ives.

Jamie Fobert (42) is a Canadian who studied in Toronto before coming to London in 1987 where he worked for David Chipperfield for nine years. He set up his own practice in 1996. Their work on Anderson House, London, won the RIBA 2003 Award for Building in a Historic Context and the Manser Medal for best one-off house in 2004. The practice recently won its first major public competition with designs for the refurbishment and extension of the Kettle’s Yard Gallery in Cambridge. Other projects include the display installation for The Upright Figure at Tate Modern in 2002, the exhibition design for From Constable to Delacroix at Tate Britain in 2003, designs for Aveda stores, and a house for Nicole and Nadav Kandar in North London.

Tate St Ives Phase Two Development will feature a new building on part of the Barnoon Car Park above the existing gallery. It will provide additional flexible space for temporary exhibitions, an education space, reception, offices and storage. The new and existing buildings will be linked to allow visitors to move from one to the other.

The new development will provide a dedicated Learning Centre at the gallery for the first time to serve local schoolchildren and provide a regional centre for excellence in visual arts education. It will also enable the gallery to organise exhibitions all year round without the need to close for up to 7 weeks per year for reinstallation.

Over 2 million people have visited Tate St Ives since it opened in 1993.
After more than ten years of successful operation, the building needs modification to meet visitors’ needs which, at peak times, are currently running at more than three times original estimates. The aim of the project is also to build the out of season numbers to boost St Ives as a year round destination.

The selection of the architect followed an open invitation in August which attracted interest from over 50 architectural practices. Managed by the RIBA, the process involved interviews with a shortlist of 7 architects, who made presentations to a panel of judges which included Sir Nicholas Serota and Peter Wilson from Tate, the director of Tate St Ives Susan Daniel-McElroy, RIBA architectural adviser Sir Jeremy Dixon and representatives from Cornwall County County Council and Penwith District Council.

The project is being delivered through a partnership between Cornwall County Council, Penwith District Council and Tate.

Bert Biscoe, Executive Member for Corporate Support, Cornwall County Council said: “The Tate development will benefit St Ives because it will be the trigger for beginning to sort out parking and future access to the town. It is vital that Cornish children can experience the Tate and the world of art first hand. It is also important that St Ives can build up all year round trade and the ability to prepare new exhibitions without shutting up shop for seven weeks a year will do this. We want to ensure that we are building a future for the whole of St Ives through the Tate project. Success deserves success.

Editor notes

The Tate St Ives Phase Two project aims to:

  • Build new audiences for the Gallery and the work of local artists.
  • Develop the educational benefits for the visiting public and local community.
  • Enhance visitor experience and encourage visits through the winter months, particularly from overseas.
  • Support Penwith’s cultural life, including the Leach Pottery project, through joint marketing.
  • Support young artists in Cornwall through the provision of gallery space and a programming strand dedicated to their development.

The new building will house the following:

  • A large top-lit gallery space to house major works and accommodate other large pieces from Tate’s Collection, which will be accessible to local audiences for the first time. The space will be flexible with the potential for use for conferences, performance and community-linked events.
  • A dedicated Learning Centre, which will enable the organisation to extend its provision for Further Education Colleges, schools and community groups and to develop partnership working with the Combined Universities of Cornwall. It will facilitate the delivery of artists’ professional training programmes and a range of workshops for the corporate sector to develop creative intelligence.
  • An exhibition preparation and storage area, which will enable the Gallery to remain open through exhibition change-over periods. This will make it possible for an additional 3,000 visitors a year to visit in this six week period when Tate St Ives is usually closed.

The modified existing building will contain:

  • A relocated shop
  • An extended and refurbished Café bar
  • Improved member and cloakroom facilities
  • An artist-run exhibition gallery, which would take a radical approach to nurturing new talent by providing an exhibition space programmed by young, emerging artists.

Economic Impact

Benefits Research carried out in 1994 by South West Tourism indicated that Tate Gallery St Ives contributed an additional £16 million to the Cornish economy. Current estimates, ten years later, are that the figure exceeds £20 million a year. The project demonstrated the ability of investment in the arts to give a real payback in terms of economic development.


Tourism to Cornwall is at an all time high. The total number of visits to Cornwall grew by 47% between 1991 - 2001 (from 3.4 million to 5 million). Tate St Ives has, along with attractions such as the Eden Project, significantly extended the tourist season in Cornwall. Hotel figures for St Ives demonstrate unprecedented demand throughout the year.