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Revealed: shortlisted designs for Museum of London's new home

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The AJ can reveal the concept designs by the six all-star teams shortlisted in the competition for the Museum of London’s new home in Smithfield 

The finalists for the £150 million project to relocate the Barbican-based museum to a new space within the Grade II-listed Victorian market complex includes BIG, Caruso St John, Stanton Williams, Lacaton & Vassal Architects and Sergison Bates.

Organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants, the international contest attracted 80 entries and the shortlisted teams were unveiled in April (see AJ 04.04.16).

The finalists’ designs, which ’embrace a wide range of interpretations’, go on display tomorrow at an exhibition at the Museum of London from 10 June to 5 August (10am–6pm).

The shortlist in full

  • BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group with Hawkins\Brown, Donald Insall and Gehl Architects
  • Caruso St John Architects with Alan Baxter Associates
  • Diener & Diener Architekten with Sergison Bates Architects, East Architecture and Graphic Thought Facility
  • Lacaton & Vassal Architectes with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio, Allies and Morrison and Alan Baxter Associates
  • Stanton Williams with Asif Khan, Julian Harrap, J&L Gibbons and Plan A
  • Studio Milou architecture with RL & Associés, Axis Architects and Alan Baxter Associates

Sharon Ament, director of the Museum of London, said: ’Every time I visit Smithfield I come away buzzing with ideas and the energy of the place. It is clear from their concepts for a new museum that the architectural teams have been equally captivated by Smithfield’s vivid history and vibrant character.

’These six concepts which suggest a fascinating range of options will give the jury plenty to consider when deciding upon an architect to work with us to design the new museum.’

The competition comes two years after former communities secretary Eric Pickles rejected John McAslan’s controversial plans for the historic market (see AJ 08.07.14). An equally controversial scheme for the empty 19th-century market buildings by KPF had also been blocked following a public inquiry in 2008 (see AJ 07.08.08).  

Early hints that the Museum of London was eyeing up a move from its Powell & Moya-designed home to West Smithfield appeared in December 2014. It later emerged that the soon-to-be-vacated museum site was being targeted as a base for a new £278 million concert hall for the London Symphony Orchestra.

The museum intends to submit an application for its Smithfield plans to the City of London Corporation next year with a scheduled opening date of 2021.

The jury

  • Sonita Alleyne, founder, The Yes Programme
  • Sharon Ament, director, Museum of London
  • Clive Bannister, chair, Museum of London Board of Governors and group chief executive, Phoenix Group Holdings
  • David Camp, governor, Museum of London and chief executive, Stanhope
  • Evan Davis, governor, Museum of London, and television and radio presenter (jury chair)
  • Stephen Deuchar, director, Art Fund
  • Robert Mull, architect, former director of architecture and dean of the Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, and trustee of the Architecture Foundation
  • Lucy Musgrave, director, Publica
  • Michelle Ogundehin, editor-in-chief, ELLE Decoration
  • Jörn Rausing, governor, Museum of London
  • Malcolm Reading, Malcolm Reading Consultants (adviser to the jury) 

For more information about the competition click here


Christopher Costelloe, director of the Victorian Society
‘The images released illustrate an interesting variety of ways of once again making the Smithfield General Market buildings a hub of London life.

’We look forward to seeing further details and hope to work closely with whichever team is chosen to ensure that this important site is repaired and returned to use in a way that reflects its architectural and historic importance.’


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