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Museum of London rethinks overhaul plans and opens kiosk contest

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The Museum of London is seeking architects to design a temporary pavilion amid a comprehensive rethink of its redevelopment plans

The prestigious museum has teamed up with the Architecture Foundation in a bid to ‘start afresh’ in its bid to overhaul its iconic Powell & Moya-designed 1976 home.

Together the organisations have launched an open call for designers to create a £15,000 pop-up structure to gather public opinion on future regeneration options.

The insitution had originally appointed John McAslan + Partners to look at a revamp and extension of the Museum of London’s Roman gallery, but the practice was later asked to look at a wider masterplan.

McAslan’s initial project – won in competition against the likes of Zaha Hadid and the late Rick Mather two years ago (see AJ 02.02.12) – featured a 200m2 expansion over the nearby ruins of London Wall dating from the Roman era.

The fresh approach to improving the building – which occupies a constrained site in the Barbican Estate and suffers from poor pedestrian access – comes more than a year after Sharon Ament took over as museum director.

Three shortlisted teams will be invited to submit designs for the temporary structure which will open during the London Festival of Architecture in July and remain outside the City of London museum for three months.

A spokesman for the museum confirmed discussions with the public would be carte blanche and not based on regeneration proposals worked up in advance.

He said: ‘The museum is still formulating plans for the wider museum and what any physical changes would look like.’

The winning kiosk design – which must be able to host small groups of up to five people while they comment on the museum’s future redevelopment options – will be announced in April.

Commenting on the pop-up competition launch, the museum’s creative partnerships manager Emilie Rolland said: ‘As the museum considers its own plans to transform, to invigorate its outside space and enhance its visibility, we hope this commission provides a bold installation that acts as a talking point for our visitors, around our future plans.’

Interested parties must submit a portfolio of relevant work with a covering letter to the Architecture Foundation by 10am on 10 February.

The winning team will be paid £4,000 + VAT and shortlisted teams will receive £700 + VAT each to work up designs.

Visit the Architecture Foundation website for more information


Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London:

‘The team at John McAslan + Partners is concluding a masterplan study which will offer some solutions to the constraints of our building and consider ways for us to seize the opportunities offered by our location within the City of London as well as forthcoming developments such as Crossrail.

‘While this work is not the original brief for which John McAslan + Partners was appointed, the project in its current form reflects a more fundamental need to consider our whole site, rather than one particular gallery. It was due to the insightful thinking of John and his team that we chose to re-scope our work, and their input has had a significant impact on our overall ambitions and indeed contributed to discussions about the entire Barbican area as a cultural destination.

‘Without a doubt John McAslan + Partners were the best choice for the task and I am excited to see the culmination of their work when it is presented in the coming weeks. What I am sure of is that it will be robust in thought, brimming with creativity and have the boldness for which John McAslan and his team are famous.’






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