Foster + Partners has submitted a planning application for the first phase of its planned £71 million overhaul of the Imperial War Museum in London
The £35 million project ‘significantly’ enlarges the museum’s First World War galleries and is planned to complete in time for the conflict’s 2014 centenary.
The scheme includes improvements to the museum’s central hall, additional contemporary conflicts exhibition space at the top of the building and a café opening onto nearby Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park.
Imperial War Museums director-general Diane Lees said: ‘We are excited by this unique opportunity to reinvigorate our flagship branch, IWM London, which last saw significant investment in the late 1980s.
‘The Centenary of the First World War from 2014-18 will be a landmark event for Britain and the world. IWM was founded during the First World War as a lasting memorial to all those who played their part in the conflict. Our brand new galleries will allow us to continue this work in the twenty-first century, helping to keep the history and personal recollections of the war alive for future generations.’
As part of the phase one redevelopment the museum will temporarily close for six months from January next year.
Later phases in the planned redevelopment include a new ground-level entrance, landscaping at the front housing the ‘iconic’ naval guns, twenty per cent more gallery space, upgraded visitor facilities and a larger and temporary exhibition space. The ambitious masterplan was first due to complete in 2019.