Museum of London to run competition to design new building - Museums Association

Museum of London to run competition to design new building

Boris Johnson approves £200,000 grant to fund competition and procurement plan
Gary Noakes
The Museum of London is to run a competition to design its new building following a £200,000 grant from the Greater London Authority (GLA).

The museum is moving to the former General Market building at Smithfield after plans to turn the historic site into an office and retail development, backed by City of London planners, were thrown out last summer by the then communities secretary Eric Pickles.

The Museum of London is working with architects John McAslan + Partners on a feasibility study for the new site. The museum estimates it needs 27,000 sq metres to present its collections properly. Its current building is 17,000 sq metres.

London mayor Boris Johnson approved the £200,000 grant, which will be used to fund the competition and develop a procurement and management plan.

A GLA document said the architectural brief would need to address “affordability, accessibility, environmental sustainability as well as world-class design”. It added that a detailed strategic brief would be completed by October.

A Museum of London spokesman said it hoped the new building would be in use by 2021. The museum saw visitor numbers hit one million last year and its target is to reach 1.5m visitors by 2017-18.

“Our aspiration is to work with creative and inspired architects who have an acute sensitivity to the site and who can connect with the spirit of London to create a truly charismatic new museum,” the museum spokesman said.

The museum’s current home on the edge of the City of London may be demolished, although it has also been earmarked as a potential site for a new concert hall.

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