The Sainsbury Centre by night

The Biography of a Building was a book given to me many months ago, and now I'm getting stuck into it. It covers the ideas behind and the founding of The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, a museum on the UEA campus; a collection of Sir Robert Sainsbury's sculptures and paintings along with regular visiting exhibits. On first glimpse, a fascinating building, however learning more about it creates more and more intrigue.

This night visit was a spur of the moment, little did I know that the fading light drifted away so quickly! The walk back through the forest drained my phone's battery rapidly using the torch for so long.


Still open at around six o'clock in the evening, the lights of the office front immediately drew me towards the building. With no other lights despite the Ziggurats to the right, the office windows created a podium of some sorts for the Centre to stand upon.


Kenny Bridge to the right seems like an awkward idea however it creates an appropriate connection to the university. The bridge is adjoined from the end of the original walkways of the UEA campus. This for me shows that the building is a part of the university, used by art students and alike, however it is also it's own entity. Also shown in the completely different style of architecture and also, being much more well kept the rest of the campus.


The exhibition towards the front created some almost haunting lighting and shadows in this light, in particular the armless figure towards the centre. Blinds at the front of the building create a dampening of light however no detail is lost, blending the building in and toning down a possible arrogance. However, I feel this is also being made with having a complete contrast to the Ziggurats and other student housing nearby, which feature bright lights with practicality in mind. The Sainsbury Centre however darkens the light, being different. Most likely this is an different result from the original intention.

The curved light podium creates lines drawing you towards the Centre and also creates contrast from the surrounding practically designed buildings. Not to say the Centre isn't practical, however there has been more thought into the design of the building, naturally, compared to the quick build, need-solution style of the campus buildings.

Sun setting on the museum, the capacity and grandeur of the building has not been captured tonight, however the front and internal of the building show this to some extent. The top half of a picture frame, a portal to creativity, dampened for the view of those interested in it.

A thank you to Paul Macro for gifting me a copy of The Biography of a Building, a book that has massively grown my interest in the Sainsbury Centre.