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Southend relaunches hunt for £40m museum architect

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Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has resumed its search for an architect to deliver a £40 million seafront museum, now known as the Thames Estuary Museum

The winning team will be asked to tweak an existing seven-year-old proposal by AEW, draw up plans for a ‘cohesive and interactive’ interior and ultimately deliver the scheme.

The new search comes two months after the council scrapped an earlier call for architects so it could create a more ‘creative’ and ‘attractive proposition’ for bidders.

The council has also renamed the museum to better reflect its vision for the venue and increase its appeal to national and international investors.

According to the contract notice: ‘Southend Borough Council is seeking to bring together an experienced and appropriately qualified architect-led design team with outstanding design and detailing skills to take forward the Thames Estuary Museum Project in Southend-on-Sea.’

Ann Holland, executive councillor for culture, tourism and the economy said: ’The museum project has been reissued following an internal review of the previously designed scheme. The working name of the museum has also been changed to Thames Estuary Museum to better reflect our aspiration to deliver a museum of national significance that tells the fascinating story of a river that shaped the world.

‘We are also asking the successful designer to undertake a design review of the current scheme prior to it being taken forward. This will give talented architects additional scope to make their mark on a building that will become a regional landmark. We are confident of a positive response from the industry.’

The attraction, on the Essex town’s Western Esplanade, will feature a museum, planetarium, restaurant, café, shop and multi-storey carpark.

Highlights will include relics from Southend’s royal Saxon tomb – unearthed in 2004 – and items from the shipwreck of the London, which sank 350 years ago.

AEW Architects originally won the project in March 2009, winning planning permission in 2012. Stabilisation works on the prominent cliff-side site have already been completed. 

Up to five teams will be shortlisted for the £1.3 million contract. The winning team will review existing plans against new client requirements before developing the scheme up to RIBA Stage 3.

The appointee will then submit an updated planning application for the phased project, if required. Once approved RIBA Stage 4 plans and a BIM Level 2 model will then be delivered, with completion scheduled for 2019.

The first phase will deliver a 8,701m² car park while the second phase will comprise the 10,023m² museum, a 392m² planetarium and other facilities.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on 22 November.


How to apply

View the contract notice for more information

Contact details

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Corporate Procurement
Civic Centre (5th Floor)
Victoria Avenue

Tel: +44 1702215000
Email: procurementadvisors@southend.gov.uk




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