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Great Detail: Elisa Pardini on Foster’s Great Court at the British Museum

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The next in a series looking at the building details that have impressed and inspired our readers. Today: Elisa Pardini of Pardini Hall Architecture & Design

Architect Foster + Partners
Building Great Court at the British Museum, London (2000)

British museum roof detail foster partners crop

British museum roof detail foster partners crop

I came to London at the end of 2000, for a Christmas holiday. It was my second year of university and of course, for a student studying architecture, London meant Norman Foster. Visiting his buildings was on my list.

The moment I entered the Great Court of the British Museum I felt something very similar to when I step inside the Pantheon in Rome. The scale of the space, the volume of light, the game of the shadows, all of it without any supporting structure spanning the space, made me feel breathless. For me this is one example of inspiring architecture. It is actually the reason why I wanted to join Foster + Partners, as I did later on in 2008.

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Img 2 jpg

The detail of the roof structure, is so clean, so precise, and it improves this environment for people while previously it was almost a lost space.

The glazed canopy is composed of 1,656 pairs of glass windowpanes - making over 6,000m² glazing - supported by 4,878 unique steel structure members.

This unique geometry spans the irregular gap between the Reading Room and the courtyard façades; this forms both the primary structure and the framing for the glazing, which is also designed to reduce solar gain.

Elisa Pardini is co-founder of Pardini Hall Architecture & Design

British museum roof detail foster partners

British museum roof detail foster partners

More on this project

You can see the full working detail, plus drawings and images in the AJ Buildings LibraryThe AJ Buildings Library is a resource exclusively for subscribers. Click here for information on our subscription packages.

The Great Court british museum foster partenr

The Great Court british museum foster partenr

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