Avanti Architects has been selected for a project to restore the terracotta façade on Alfred Waterhouse’s iconic Natural History Museum in west London
The AJ120 practice will complete a research project to ‘define the repair and restoration’ of the Grade I listed landmark which first opened to the public in 1881.
Originally designed by civil engineer Francis Fowke who won a contest for the building in 1864, the scheme was later revised by Alfred Waterhouse who took over following Fowke’s death.
Inspired by Romanesque architecture, the building’s interior and exterior are clad in thousands of terracotta tiles illustrated with relief sculptures of flora and fauna.
According to a statement from Avanti, the studio’s prior experience of terracotta repair was ‘key’ to its winning bid.
Avanti Architects director Claudia Bloom commented: ‘We are completely thrilled to have been appointed on this complex and fascinating project for a building I have loved all of my professional life.’
Avanti will initially work with Catherine Woolfitt Associates and Colabora Consulting to test restoration proposals on a typical vertical ‘strip’ of elevation.
According to the studio: ‘The results of the analysis of this work will allow the museum to develop a capital programme to conserve the entire listed façade.’
Location: The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD
Type of project: Repair and restoration
Client: Natural History Museum
Architect: Avanti Architects
Specialist advisor: Catherine Woolfitt
Cost consultant: Colabora Consulting