The new entrance to the Imperial War Museum’s Churchill War Rooms in King Charles Street, London, has opened to the public
Designed by Clash Associates, the doorway into Winston Churchill’s World War II bunker was constructed off-site and is made from 4mm bronze plate.
The new entrance is located between the Grade I-listed Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Grade II*-listed HM Treasury building.
The finish has a gently graduated deep bronze patina and features highly burnished 25mm solid bronze letters mounted on perforated plates above the entrance.
Clash Associates’ design was influences by Second World War military hardware and the bronze sculptures of Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore.
The interior reveals the existing Portland stone façades of HM Treasury and the Clive Steps.
The underground complex housed a government command centre during the war.
The architect’s view
The design is inspired and influenced by both the military hardware of the Second World War as well as the bronze sculptures of that era by artists such as Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore. It was developed in close consultation with Westminster’s planners, English Heritage and various local conservation bodies, whose priority is the protection of the area’s unique architectural character.
Sensitive to its surroundings and complying with strict conservation regulations, it sits snugly within its perimeter respecting its listed neighbours.
Mirroring the sculptural form of the external design, the interior is enclosed by a multi-faceted plaster vault, lit directly and indirectly by strategically positioned spotlights, and features Oscar Nemon’s bust of Churchill. The interior reveals the existing Portland stone façades of the Grade II*-listed HM Treasury and Clive Steps, all of which have been cleaned and restored to their original glory.
The design is a fusion of architecture and sculpture, melding old and new: the ebullient personality of Churchill and the menacing military language of its form, connecting to the historic site below, sheltering under a canopy that is both redolent of those threatening times and a bold modern design statement.