World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre

The British Museum has announced that it will submit revised plans for a World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre to Camden Council. This important project will transform a currently underused part of the Museum site to house essential new facilities to ensure the Museum can continue to perform its vital local, national and international functions in the future.

The new Centre will house state-of-the-art laboratories and studios for the conservation, preservation and research of the collection, a new gallery for special exhibitions, world-class stores for the study collection as well as facilities to support the Museum's extensive national and international loans programme.

Working with the world-famous architectural practice, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the Museum has developed the designs to address issues raised at the previous planning meeting. The new proposals are:

  • One of the pavilions has been submerged underground, ensuring no impact on the view from the Arched Reading Room and substantially reducing the impact of views from the Bedford Square properties. This architectural response will in many ways be beneficial for the scientific research facilities housed in the pavilion given their need for closely-controlled environments with levels of isolation away from any form of vibration. Large rooflights will ensure that daylight can penetrate into the upper floors of the scientific research facilities. This change means that over 20 per cent of the mass of the facility above ground in the previous application has now been submerged.
  • The remaining spaces between the above-ground pavilions have been increased in width from 2 to 3 metres, which in the case of the three central pavilions means that considerably more day light will be able to reach those windows that face on to the new building from the North Range. 

We believe that these enhancements to the scheme will address the key planning issues whilst allowing the Museum to develop the essential facilities it needs to continue as a world leader in its field. The Museum will continue to consult widely on the proposals ahead of submission with all relevant planning and architectural bodies and the local community.

Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum said "We feel the developments made to the scheme address the issues raised but do not compromise the delivery of the essential facilities necessary to ensure the Museum can meet its present and future obligations to the collection and to its visitors".

A public exhibition of the new proposals will take place at the British Museum (Upper floor, off Room 66) on the following dates:

Friday 25 September, 17.0020.00
Saturday 26 September, 10.00–15.00
Sunday 27 September, 10.0015.00
Monday 28 September, 11.0017.30

For more information please contact Hannah Boulton on 020 7323 8522 or hboulton@britishmuseum.org