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Berman Guedes Stretton makes splash at Natural History museum

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[IMAGES + PROJECT DATA] Work has completed on the £550,000 refurbishment of the toilets at London’s Natural History Museum

Dubbed The Call of Nature, the scheme by Oxford and London-based Berman Guedes Stretton (BGS) has increased female toilet provision by 60 per cent and improved access to both the men’s and disabled facilities.

The project features a new ‘woodland scene on a glazed wall’ and exposes more of the ‘pioneering terracotta skin’ used by the listed museum’s architect Alfred Waterhouse.

Gary Collins, associate director at BGS, said: ‘For us, the project seemed to fall into two distinct parts: restoration and “furniture”.

‘The removal of the incongruous additions, which had grown over the years and destroyed the original volume, was essential to our conservation strategy. This was followed by the painstaking removal of layers of paint to reveal the original terracotta walls: returning the space to one complete volume.

‘Only then could the new toilet facilities be introduced. These were conceived as pieces of ‘furniture’ that sit within the space and are free from the restored walls wherever possible: to keep the single volume visible in its entirety.  This approach allowed us to design contemporary toilet and washing facilities to meet modern demands while respecting the original Waterhouse design.’

This project is one of a number BGS is working on for the museum under a four-year framework agreement.

Other recent notable toilet revamps include Glowacka Rennie’s overhaul of the facilities at the V&A.

Project Data

Type Of Project: Listed building refurbishment – toilet facility fit out
Structural Engineers: Fothergill & Co
Design Team: As below
Client: Natural History Museum, London
Funding: Client
Tender date: 22 January 2009
Start on site date: 27 April 2009
Contract duration: 14 weeks
Gross internal floor area: 170m²
Form of contract and/or procurement: Traditional single stage, JCT intermediate form
Total cost: £550,000
M&e consultant: Hilson Moran
Quantity surveyor: Abacus Project Services
Planning supervisor: Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
Lighting consultant: Hilson Moran
Main contractor: Parkeray
Selected subcontractors and suppliers: M2 Joinery, Decra Ltd (cubicles), Ideal Standard ‘Jasper Morrison’ range, Lovair, Allgood
Annual co2 emissions: Not known






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