The design body has lavished praise on the proposed extension of the museum by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners but has called for more boldness in its design
‘While the stylistic approach is accomplished, we think that, in comparison, the architectural expression of the proposed extension could perhaps be stronger,’ said the review.
CABE added the choice of materials of Portland Stone and thick textured glass works well, there is potential to ‘add interest to the elevation’ by exploring different dimensions of the cladding of both materials.
The museum extension was described by AJ editor Kieran Long as ‘dull’ and ‘a rather nondescript piece of architecture’.
It has also been poorly received by local groups, which claims the design would adversely affect original interiors of architectural value, namely Burnet’s long Chinese Gallery and North Stairs and Smirke’s Arched Room.
Hero Granger-Taylor, a committee member, Camden Civic Society, representing CCS on Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee argued a new much lower building is the only acceptable solution.
Despite CABE’s concerns about the elevations, the design watchdog was keen to praise the practice’s approach to the internal layout.
The review reads: ‘We believe that this is a successful response to the complicated physical, functional and logistical constraints of the site. The clear functional and circulatory strategies, in both plan and section, make the resolution of a complex brief look simple. A clear and legible hierarchy has emerged from the organisation of functions and spaces in plan form and in section.’