Turner Contemporary is a world-renowned architectural icon designed by Sir David Chipperfield. Located on a prominent seafront location, the gallery occupies the site of a former car park where a guesthouse frequented by JMW Turner once stood. The building comprises six identical volumes with mono-pitched roofs, which provide north light to the exhibition spaces and allow visitors to experience the daily and seasonal changes in light. The building is raised on a plinth to protect it from occasional flooding and its surroundings are hardscaped.
The gallery has no permanent collection and instead displays a mix of contemporary and historic art and hosts educational and cultural events. The ground floor includes the Sunley Gallery, a flexible event space, a café, and a shop, all of which can function independently from the climate-controlled exhibition spaces on the upper floor. The building is flooded with natural light from the clerestory windows on the north side and skylights above each of the six volumes.
It is constructed with a concrete frame and acid-etched glass skin to withstand the corrosive effects of the sea. The façades are primarily made of glass with reinforced windows. The interior features a restrained palette of concrete floors, white walls, and concrete soffits to create a simple and welcoming space for the display and appreciation of art.