Eric Parry Architects’ highly controversial extension to the Grade I-listed Holburne Museum of Art in Bath has been given the thumbs up – at the second attempt.
Last night (28 November) Bath and North East Somerset Council's planning officers approved a slightly revised scheme – the initial designs were unexpectedly rejected in July.
The £10 million glass and ceramic project stirred up a hornets’ nest when first unveiled earlier this year, especially from the conservationists who felt the proposals were out of keeping with the historic city’s Georgian architecture.
Critics remained unconvinced by the amended proposals (resubmitted in September), claiming the alterations, including a reduction in height and a change in colour from blue to beige to match the museum’s Bath stone, were insignificant and ‘pointless’.
However the council’s committee was suitably convinced and voted seven to four in favour of the 800m2 project, which will throw a lifeline to the currently space-constricted museum.
A spokesman said: ‘The [three-storey] scheme, which will secure the future of this important museum… will provide an extra 800m2 of gallery space to house the collection, which has grown by some 2,000 exhibits since the museum opened in 1916.’
He added: ‘It will transform the visitor’s experience with improved facilities, a lift which will (for the first time) allow the museum to be fully accessible to all, and a garden café opening on to the park.
‘The project will reunite the historic Sydney Gardens with the city by recreating the clear axis between Great Pulteney Street at one end and the gardens at the other.’