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Delays force Design Museum to push back Thames closure

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The Design Museum has pushed back the closure of its current home in Shad Thames as a result of delays to work on its proposed new HQ inside the Commonwealth Institute

The museum has extended the lease on its riverside base in south east London up until December 2016 following an agreement with the building’s new owners Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA).

The deal allows the museum to put back its planned departure from the former 1940s banana warehouse to its new John Pawson-designed home in Kensington, west London by up to a year.

In a statement, the Design Museum said the premises would now close to the public in summer 2016 rather than in ‘late 2015’ as previously announced.

The Shad Thames base’s closure would then be followed by ‘a number of weeks for decanting and making good the building before we vacate it.’

The statement continued: ‘The opening date for the [new] museum has moved a few times, we are now looking at 2016 although we do not have a confirmed month at this stage.’

New cladding is currently being applied to the Grade II*-listed Commonwealth Institute as part of its £80 million overhaul to create a new 10,000m² home for the museum.

Designed by John Pawson, the project will treble the museum’s exhibition space and restore the west London landmark which previously stood empty for more than a decade.

Last year saw the building’s parabolic roof suspended while a new basement and floor slabs were installed.

When images were first unveiled to the public three years ago the new museum was tipped to open in 2014 but the opening was later moved back to ‘late 2015’ and has now been delayed again.

Commenting on the latest delay, the Design Museum said: ‘As you know, in a major capital build of this nature it is not unusual for dates to shift.

‘The move to a 2016 opening date is not the result of a particular problem with the project - it reflects the complexity of the renovation of a listed building.’

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