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McAslan wins £6.75m St Albans museum project

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John McAslan + Partners has been chosen to transform St Albans’ Grade II*-listed Old Town Hall into a new museum and art gallery

The AJ100 practice and exhibition designer Urban Salon defeated a raft of unnamed practices to win the prestigious £6.75 million project.

The news comes just days after it emerged McAslan was also looking at plans to relocate the Museum of London from its home in the Barbican into empty buildings at Smithfield market (AJ 08.12.14).

The new St Albans venue will document 2,000 years of the city’s history spanning from its foundation as the Roman city of Verulamium to the present day.

Backed by St Albans City and District Council and planned to open in 2017, the project will relocate an existing museum on Hatfield Road to the George Smith-designed landmark which first opened in 1826.

The Old Town Hall’s court room and former prison cells will be converted into new exhibition spaces and the University of Hertfordshire’s contemporary art gallery will also be moved to the site.

Urban salon will design the main galleries and create a flexible exhibition kit which the museum can use to easily update and transform its displays.

Councillor Annie Brewster, the portfolio holder for sports, leisure and heritage at St Albans City and District Council, said: ‘The appointment of architects and designers is a real milestone along the road to delivering a wonderful new state-of-the-art museum and art gallery in the centre of St Albans.’

She continued: ‘They will bring their impressive proven design talents to help transform our beautiful Grade II* listed Town Hall into a great visitor attraction for our city.’

The council has pledged £2.25 million towards the project and an application for a further £2.8 million is being made to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The St Albans Museums and Galleries Trust – which is also supporting the project – is meanwhile planning to raise a further £1.7 million from charities and local businesses to pay for the scheme.

Images of McAslan’s winning design are expected to be revealed in the spring.





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