New firm appointed to Liverpool museums project following Adjaye allegations - Museums Association

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New firm appointed to Liverpool museums project following Adjaye allegations

Architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios will lead transformation of International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum
The new architectural team, left to right: Peter Clegg (FCBS), Kudzai Matsvai (University of Liverpool), Kossy Nnachetta (FCBS), Geoff Rich (FCBS) and Ilze Wolff (University of Liverpool)
The new architectural team, left to right: Peter Clegg (FCBS), Kudzai Matsvai (University of Liverpool), Kossy Nnachetta (FCBS), Geoff Rich (FCBS) and Ilze Wolff (University of Liverpool) © Pete Carr

A new firm has been chosen to work on the £58m redevelopment of Liverpool’s International Slavery Museum and Maritime Museum, after National Museums Liverpool (NML) cut ties with the original architects, Adjaye Associates.

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS) will develop proposals for the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building and the Hartley Pavilion, a key strand of the Waterfront Transformation Project to revitalise Canning dry docks and quaysides.

The international design firm was appointed in an accelerated process after NML terminated its contracted with Adjaye Associates in last summer, when the Financial Times published allegations of sexual assault and harassment from three former employees against practice founder David Adjaye.

The architect has denied the allegations but apologised at the time for entering into relationships that “blurred the boundaries between my professional and personal lives”.   

FCBS, one of the original bidders in the 2021 architectural competition for the project, will build on Adjaye Associates’ designs.

The redevelopment will see the Dr Martin Luther King Jr building become a prominent new entrance to the International Slavery Museum, which is intended to create a stronger sense of purpose and identity for the museum.

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The Hartley Pavilion will benefit from improved circulation for visitors with enhanced commercial facilities, including a shop, café, events spaces and a new temporary exhibition space.  

The redevelopment hopes to elevate the national collections of both museums and “centre people – past, present and future, local, national and international – to create dynamic, welcoming spaces that meaningfully address contemporary issues”.

The Dr Martin Luther King Jr building and the Hartley Pavilion in Royal Albert Dock, Liverpool Ant Clausen

Ralph Appelbaum Associates, which was appointed in 2022, will continue to lead on the exhibition design for both museums.

“To be bringing two such visionary designers with international reputations to the project represents the bold ambition and thinking behind it,” said Laura Pye, director of NML.

“We are delighted they’re keen to embrace this as a co-production project which we feel will create something truly ground-breaking. 

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“There has never been a more important time to address the legacies of the transatlantic slavery and the redevelopment of the International Slavery Museum symbolises our, and our region’s, commitment to confronting the significant role the city played in British imperialism.”

Pye said the project would “bring a renewed focus on Liverpool’s rich maritime history and communities” and create a holistic exploration of Liverpool’s waterfront heritage.

The FCBS team will be led by partner Kossy Nnachetta, supported by Geoff Rich and Peter Clegg.

 “FCBS are excited and humbled by the invitation to join the NML team and to lead the architectural transformation of these museums,” said Kossy.

“We understand that there is huge responsibility to help create a platform to tell this story, long whispered, yet still awaiting the space to fully express itself; and all the potent, deep-seated emotions it can elicit. We hope to help create something bold and yet beautiful. The result of ‘many hands’ working together with the museums and communities in Liverpool.”

FCBS will work with members of the University of Liverpool School of Architecture to facilitate the co-production of the designs. The all-female university team includes head of school Ola Uduku, the school's most recent professorial appointment, Ilze Wolff, who is also the founding partner of Wolff Architects, and EDI specialist, architectural designer and PhD candidate, Kudzai Matsvai.

This project is supported with a grant of £9.9m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Comments (1)

  1. John Clark says:

    So under the old rules you were allowed to be sexist as long as you weren’t racist as well?

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