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Studio Egret West picked to remasterplan Horniman Museum

Horniman Museum
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The Horniman Museum has chosen Studio Egret West to remasterplan its 6.5ha home in south-east London

The practice – working with tourist attraction specialists Fourth Street and Expedition Engineers – defeated an undisclosed shortlist to win the estimated £20,000 contract backed by the Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust.

Studio Egret West will now draw up a masterplan for the Grade II*-listed Arts-and-Crafts-style building and its surrounding gardens, which feature stunning views of the capital’s skyline.

Commenting on the appointment, the practice’s founding director David West said: ‘We are delighted to work with the Horniman, an institution and place that we have much personal affiliation and admiration for.

‘We see so much potential to expand the nature and breadth of the draw of the Horniman Museum and Gardens through carefully considered interventions and programmes within a multi-layered landscape.’

The announcement comes less than two months after the trust drastically reduced the professional indemnity insurance (PII) limitation on bidders from £10 million to £1 million, saying the original figure had been a mistake.

The move followed criticism from architects that the onerous and unnecessary requirements would effectively prohibit small practices from applying for the work.

The remasterplanning project is intended to reduce congestion in the entrance area, improve accessibility and legibility for visitors, and set out a range of options for the museum’s study collections centre.

Named after its founder, English tea trader Frederick John Horniman, the museum occupies a hilltop site overlooking Dulwich in south-east London. Displays include musical instruments and artefacts relating to anthropology and natural history.

The Horniman’s main building, designed by Charles Harrison Townsend, opened in 1901 and an extension was completed 10 years later by the same architect. Allies and Morrison expanded the complex in 2002, while Walters & Cohen completed a £2.3 million garden pavilion in 2012.

Last summer, MICA Architects and Ralph Appelbaum Associates completed a £1 million refurbishment of the museum’s South Hall Gallery.

The latest project follows the appointment of a new museum chief executive, Nick Merriman, and is part of plans to diversify audiences, enhance the venue’s social impact, improve collections and build a more sustainable economic foundation for the enterprise.

Merriman said: ‘Studio Egret West stood out for us during the tender process because of their extensive experience, their consultative practice, their enthusiasm for the Horniman as visitors themselves, and their creative yet realistic take on what our future could look like. We’re excited to work with them to develop a framework for the Horniman.’

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