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Museum of London seeks global star

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The Museum of London has said it wants an internationally renowned name to design its proposed new home at Smithfield Market

Last week the museum confirmed it intended to move out of its Powell & Moya-designed base at the Barbican and relocate into the empty Victorian market buildings 300m away.

John McAslan + Partners has already been asked by the Museum of London to look at how the institution could be re-housed in the larger market buildings by 2021. But a spokesman admitted the museum wanted to run an international contest to find a designer to mastermind its new home.

He said: ‘Our aspiration is to work with one of the world’s leading architects who will be appointed via a competition; however the exact process is yet to be decided.’

The vacant and deteriorating market buildings had been earmarked for a mixed-use office and retail scheme backed by developer and long-term tenant Henderson Global Investors. However those plans were thrown out by communities secretary Eric Pickles in July last year (AJ 08.07.14) and the developer had since been looking at a more retail-led design for the site.

Before any relocation plans can take shape, the museum still needs to thrash out a deal with Henderson. But the move has both the backing of the Corporation of the City of London and the mayor Boris Johnson.

The Museum of London’s departure will pave the way for the overhaul or demolition of the existing 1976 building which sits at the south west corner of Powell & Moya’s wider Barbican estate.

The museum has already applied for a certificate of immunity from listing and the Twentieth Century Society has said it has no plans to contest the application (C20 Society: ‘We won’t call for Museum of London listing).

Postscript

The Museum of London has confirmed it has already applied for a certificate for immunity from listing for its current 1976 Powell & Moya-designed home.

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