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AOC wins battle for Royal Armouries

AOC has bagged an RIBA competition to design the new ‘street’ area and entrance to the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds.


The London-based 40 Under 40 firm saw off competition from 28 practices and finally prevailed in a shortlist that included Alex Graef Associated Architects, Featherstone Associates and Landolt and Brown to land the £250,000 project.



AOC director Geoff Shearcroft said: ‘The existing street felt like a shopping mall; we wanted to make it a ‘curatable’ space, something like Tate Modern, and we wanted to introduce the fantastic material qualities of the armoury.’



To that end, AOC worked up the three core elements of the competition: the entrance ‘scoop’, the welcome desks and, on the right-hand side of the building, the ‘eye-catching’ tower lined with the museum’s collection of armour.



Referring to the tower, Shearcroft explained: ‘The tower is fantastic, but you can’t get up there. So we designed a big, convex mirror at the foot of the tower, allowing people to look up at the armour.’



The winning entry also featured hundreds of Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles suspended around the museum’s facade.



The jury panel consisted of representatives from the Royal Armouries Museum, the Board of Trustees and Panter Hudspith’s Simon Hudspith, an adviser from the RIBA.




by Max Thompson

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