Sketched view of the new digital exhibition space on the opened-up Ground Floor

Wednesday 7 August 2019

In the next crucial step towards the redevelopment of the Warburg Institute building on Woburn Square, the American Friends of the Warburg Institute have pledged $250,000 for the Warburg Renaissance project.  

The American Friends of the Warburg Institute (AFWI) are a membership group of US-based supporters and alumni who exist to support the strategic aims of the Warburg and promote the Institute in North America. They provide regular bursaries for students from the US and have now pledged their support to the Warburg Institute on the exciting Warburg Renaissance project.

The commitment represents the next crucial milestone in the Institute’s fundraising campaign for £5m to complement the University of London’s £9.5m commitment to the project. Professor Bill Sherman, Director of the Warburg Institute, was happy to see the long-term partnership between the membership group and the Institute continue to grow:

“We are proud to have been supported by the American Friends of the Warburg Institute group for the last 30 years and we are delighted that they have recognised the special merit in the Warburg Renaissance project and pledged their support. We will continue to work closely together to grow the influence of and advocacy for the Institute in North America.”

The extensive plans for the redevelopment of the Warburg Institute will revive and extend Aby Warburg’s vision to shape the future of cultural memory and complete architect Charles Holden’s unfinished 1950s building in the heart of Bloomsbury. The Renaissance will invigorate the Institute making essential improvements to the building and introducing new spaces that connect the Warburg with its origins in Hamburg.

The planned café/common room on the Ground Floor

The Warburg Renaissance will transform the Warburg Institute by restoring its original vision and making it ready for future generations. The aim is to enhance the Institute’s academic resources, teaching facilities and public offerings, and create new facilities for special collections, exhibitions, and events. Through creating a more open and accessible building, it will be able to welcome in and educate a wider audience.

The new public hub will revive the Institute’s early emphasis on display, nearly double the size of the lecture theatre, and introduce a new digital laboratory and a new café in opened-up, double-height spaces on the Ground Floor. A teaching suite with enlarged seminar rooms and improved group study areas will help to meet ambitious targets for growing the Postgraduate programmes and student community. The Library will be expanded to allow for at least 20 years of growth, along with refurbished stacks and improved climate control. In addition, the Archive and Photographic Collection will be relocated into new, purpose-designed spaces, alongside bespoke labs for conservation and imaging.

The next two years will see the Warburg Institute and the Warburg Charitable Trust increase development efforts to secure the support needed to deliver the ambitious programme. Daniel Javitch, Chair of the American Friends of the Warburg Institute, says:

The Warburg Institute continues to be hugely influential for students, scholars and academics in North America and we are proud to have supported the Institute for the past 30 years. The Warburg Renaissance is an ambitious opportunity to build this influence by bringing Aby Warburg’s vision to life and we are extremely excited to see the plans come to fruition under the leadership of Bill Sherman.