The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

The Sainsbury Centre

Listing success: Foster’s Sainsbury Centre

The Twentieth Century Society is delighted that Norman Foster’s Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia has been listed.

Designed by one of Britain’s most significant modern architects, the grade II* listing reflects the national importance of this outstanding work of late twentieth century High Tech architecture.

The Sainsbury Centre was built in 1977 by Foster Associates for Lord and Lady Sainsbury at the University of East Anglia to house their art collection which was donated to the university by the couple in 1973.

Like the Pompidou Centre in Paris (Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, 1971-77) the open and flexible interior, created by the remarkable span achieved by its tubular steel trusses, allows for a fully flexible exhibition space that can be kept open or compartmentalised.

The large cuboid, clad, steel structure is recognised world wide as a high point in the British High Tech movement.┬áThis successful application follows the Twentieth Century Society’s submission to English Heritage to list the building in 2011.

In their recommendation report, English Heritage cited the architectural innovation and celebrated design as reasons for designation at grade II*. The decision to list was issued by architecture minister Ed Vaizey.