rogers stirk harbour + partners extends the british museum
photo by paul raftery

 

 

 

the british museum has unveiled one of the largest redevelopment projects in its 260 year history, the ‘world conservation and exhibitions centre’ (WCEC), designed by rogers stirk harbour + partners (RSHP). located at the northwest corner of the institution’s bloomsbury estate, the complex enables the museum to store, conserve and display a wider range of cultural artifacts and objects from around the globe. costing £135 million to complete, the project comprises first rate laboratories and studios, as well as facilities to support an extensive UK and international loan program.

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the complex enables the museum to display a wider range of cultural artifacts and objects from around the globe
photo by paul raftery

 

 

 

the building consists of five individual pavilions that respond organically to the historic institution’s architecture. in terms of materiality, the kiln-formed glass and portland stone used as part of the design references the existing structure, while a shaded façade subtly reveals the activities within. the volumes and heights of the pavilions are designed to create an easy visual transition from the vast scale of the museum to the more intimate proportions of the the predominantly eighteenth century properties in the neighboring streets. through combining rhythm and materials the design achieves a contextual response to the site, while simultaneously repairing the fractured geometry at the street’s edge.

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the design consists of five individual pavilions that respond organically to the historic institution’s existing architecture
photo by paul raftery

 

 

 

graham stirk, lead architect and senior partner, rogers stirk harbour + partners, explained: ‘the need for versatility, as well as sensitivity to the historical context, underpinned our thinking throughout the design process of the world conservation and exhibitions centre. we are very proud of the building, which offers a flexible series of spaces that support the wide range of activities currently undertaken by the british museum and can adapt to changing requirements over time.’

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
a glazed atrium rises through the building
photo by paul raftery

 

 

 

the world conservation and exhibitions centre is an important – and beautiful – addition to bloomsbury. rogers, stirk, harbour + partners and mace have designed and delivered a wonderfully flexible building which provides the museum with the facilities it needs to achieve our future ambitions. I am grateful to all of our extremely generous donors who have enabled us to undertake this project and all of the staff who have worked so hard to bring it to fruition’, commented british museum director neil macgregor.

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the project comprises first rate laboratories and studios
photo by paul raftery

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the sainsbury exhibitions gallery
photo by paul raftery

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the building’s northern façade
photo by paul raftery

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
the kiln-formed glass and portland stone used as part of the design references the existing structure
photo by paul raftery

richard rogers stirk harbour + partners british museum extension designboom
view of the british museum from the north with WCEC to the west
photo by paul raftery

 

 

project info:

 

location: london, united kingdom
project dates: 2007-2014
gross internal floor area: 18,000 sqm
project cost: £135 million
construction cost per square meter: £5,000/sqm approx.
client: the british museum

 

architect: rogers stirk harbour + partners
construction manager: mace

structural engineer: ramboll uk
services engineer: arup

landscape design: gillespies LLP

 

quantity surveyor: aecom
project manager: tony wilson (british museum)
strategic planning & consultation strategy: the green brain
planning consultants: montagu evans
townscape consultant: francis golding
CDM coordinator: AYH/arcadis
approved building inspector
: approved inspector services (AIS)
CAD software: microstation

annual co2 emissions: 19.8kg co2