Emerging London studio MWAI has unveiled plans for a new cultural centre in Jamestown, Saint Helena
The pro bono commission will create a new cultural venue for the 4,200 inhabitants of the second most remote island community in the world.
Backed by The St Helena Heritage Society and The Friends of St Helena and supported by local architect Jens Kuhn – the scheme will restore an historic Grade III-listed store in the island’s capital, Jamestown.
The unpaid project, connected to the neighbouring St Helena Museum, follows several years of engagement by the practice which was founded in 2009 and specialises in residential, commercial and masterplanning projects.
According to a statement from the firm: ‘Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island and a British protectorate in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is the second most remote island in the world and the place of Napoleon’s exile and death.
‘MWAI has been involved with St Helena for a number of years, and has carried out a series of projects analysing the history of the island. Consequently, a key feature of the practice’s approach will be to preserve and enhance the historic character and architectural features of this historic building.’
Once complete, the new centre will bring together the St Helena Museum with the Jamestown Public Library and the St Helena Archives.
The statement continued: ‘These three institutions will be able to share their resources under one roof and offer a modern, educational, archive, research and exhibition centre for the Island – fitted with a digital hub for Saints.
‘The library will take centre stage, acting as a modern educational, communication and learning resource for residents.’