Guildford Borough Council is seeking a design team to regenerate its Grade I-listed castle and museum
The winner of the £250,000 contract will reconfigure the museum and create a new building improving access to the nearby castle and its grounds.
Additional display areas, improved public facilities, a new entrance, café, shop and an exhibition space will also be delivered.
According to the brief: ‘The aim is to create a flexible space that seamlessly links the castle, its grounds and the museum as a focal point for heritage, modern interactive displays and leisure space with enhanced facilities making full use of the castle and grounds for the local community, businesses and tourists.’
The document continued: ‘The project will unite places with a related history, increasing access to, and understanding of, heritage assets including the castle, historic collections, castle grounds and the story of the town and borough that grew around it, producing a refreshed and enlivened museum and the major heritage hub and attraction for the borough’s community and its visitors.’
Built shortly after the 1066 Norman invasion, the ruined motte and bailey castle was originally a royal residence but was later used as a jail and then transformed into pleasure gardens in 1888.
Today the castle and museum receive only around 15,000 visitors and 13,000 visitors a year each despite almost half a million people annually entering the surrounding grounds.
Poor physical access, outdated facilities, a small exhibition space and displays which are ‘tired and need updating’ are all blamed for the low numbers.
The project aims to conserve the existing structures, create a new visitor attraction for the town and deliver ‘imaginative, functional, flexible and attractive’ exhibition spaces.
A new circular route between the museum and castle will also be required.
Allies and Morrison drafted a new masterplan for Guildford town centre – recommending new retail frontages and the removal of a gyratory – two years ago.
The winning team will develop the scheme up to RIBA Stage 2 and then beyond subject to client approval.
The deadline for applications is 4 July.
How to apply
Mike Harris and Vincent Hunt
Guildford Borough Council