Gainsborough’s House triumphs with prestigious RIBA East Building of the Year Award 2024

  1. Home
  2. Gainsborough's House
  3. Gainsborough’s House triumphs with prestigious RIBA East Building of the Year Award 2024
An image of the New Galleries from the garden in Gainsborough's House. A large red-brick modern building is encased with grade-II listed buildings. The Print Workshop and café are to the right.

Gainsborough’s House triumphs with prestigious RIBA East Building of the Year Award 2024

Sudbury, Suffolk, May 17, 2024 – The major transformational project at Gainsborough’s House, the historic home and museum dedicated to the renowned 18th-century painter Thomas Gainsborough, scooped three RIBA East architecture Awards. It has been awarded the esteemed Building of the Year Award 2024, as well as the Conservation Award 2024 and a Regional Award 2024. These accolades recognise the museum’s exceptional architectural transformation, blending innovative design of new buildings with heritage conservation.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) honoured Gainsborough’s House for its outstanding expansion, restoration and revival, a project that masterfully marries the historic fabric of the artist’s birthplace with contemporary architectural elements. The transformation, designed and led by the acclaimed architectural firm ZMMA Architects, has not only preserved the Grade 1 listed and historic buildings but has developed the site with modern galleries and facilities that enhance visitor experience and engagement with Gainsborough’s legacy, and enable Gainsborough’s House to mount major exhibitions.

The RIBA jury praised the project for its sensitive approach to historical preservation, exemplary craftsmanship, and the seamless integration of new buildings within the existing site. The transformation includes a new Gainsborough gallery, exhibition galleries, the spectacular Landscape Studio, educational facilities, café and improved accessibility, making Gainsborough’s House a premier cultural destination in East Anglia.

Calvin Winner, Director of Gainsborough’s House, expressed his delight at the Award:

Winning the RIBA East Building of the Year Award is such an incredible achievement. This recognition celebrates the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in this project particularly the previous director Mark Bills, the hard-working team, and the wonderful architects at ZMMA. The aim was to create a space that not only honours Gainsborough’s legacy but also provides a dynamic environment for contemporary audiences. This award is a testament to the success of that vision, it is good news for Suffolk and great news for Sudbury.

Adam Zombory-Moldovan, Principal at ZMMA said:

These Awards are a fabulous accolade for Gainsborough’s House’s astonishing transformation into a major cultural destination, and we are honoured to have worked with the inspirational team at Gainsborough’s House.  Credit also goes to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other financial supporters who made this ambitious project possible.  I would like to thank our amazing collaborators in our design and construction teams who helped deliver a project of the highest calibre in every respect.

Gainsborough’s House continues to attract art enthusiasts and tourists, contributing significantly to the cultural and economic vitality of Sudbury and the broader Suffolk region. The RIBA East Building of the Year Award 2024 and the Conservation Award 2024 highlight the museum as a leading example of heritage preservation and modern architectural excellence.

Featured image (above): © Gainsborough’s House | Anne Purkiss

An image taken from the front of Gainsborough's House museum.
Photo credit: © Hufton + Crow