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Lottery boost for UCL's 'window on the world'

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Jeremy Dixon.Edward Jones' latest gallery project, the Petrie Museum at University College London (UCL), has secured £4.9 million in Heritage Lottery funding.

The egyptology museum, which boasts the largest collection of artefacts outside Egypt, will be housed in the new £16 million Panopticon Building.

The building's name (from the Ancient Greek 'pan', meaning all, and 'optikos', sight) reflects the 'all-visible' nature of the building, which will be both 'UCL's window on the world', and the 'world's window into UCL'.

Sited on Gordon Street, off the north-west corner of Gordon Square in London's Bloomsbury, the building will provide a new eastern gateway to the college campus. The project creates a horizontal route across the campus, connecting Gordon Street with the raised South Cloisters courtyard, the front quadrangle and the historic main entrance to the college on Gower Street, Wilkins'Portico.

As well as providing a new home to the Petrie Collection - which includes the world's oldest dress, dating from 2400BC - the building will also contain the university's rare books and manuscript collections, two lecture theatres, a temporary gallery space and cafeteria. The main entrance to the Panopticon leads into a double-height entrance hall which provides access to the building's various functions. An escalator leads up to the first floor and the entrance to the Petrie Collection, which is displayed over the first, second and third floors, and a halfflight of stairs leads up to the lecture halls. A second flight of stairs leads to the cafeteria and temporary exhibition space, and the route across the campus to the South Cloisters courtyard and the Wilkins building beyond. A lift in the reception takes visitors from the entrance up to the rare books and manuscripts reading room on the fourth floor. Two levels of dense book storage in the basement are connected to the reading room by dedicated lifts.

The project is set to begin on site in 2006 and be completed by 2008.

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