Foster's classic design gets listed status

The Sainsbury Centre
The Sainsbury Centre Credit: Thomas Bush

The Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia in Norwich has today been given Grade II* listing by the Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey.

The building, which opened in 1977, was designed by Norman Foster, one of Britain’s most distinguished modern architects, and houses the art collection of Lord and Lady Sainsbury.

Exhibition space at the Sainsbury Centre
Exhibition space at the Sainsbury Centre Credit: ITV Anglia

Ed Vaizey’s decision to list it follows expert advice from English Heritage whose experts cited its architectural innovation, design, historic association, flexibility and group value as reasons for the II* grading.

Commenting on the announcement Ed Vaizey said “Norman Foster’s design for the Sainsbury Centre is recognised around the world as a high point of the British ‘high-tech’ movement and, by any standards, a modern classic."

A side view of the Sainsbury Centre
The building opened in 1977 Credit: Thomas Bush

The Sainsbury Centre sits in parkland at the University of East Anglia campus, alongside the listed buildings of Denys Lasdun's 1960s scheme.

Lord Foster has welcomed the announcement and has admitted that the project was influential in his architectural career.