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Wright & Wright's Geffrye Museum plans win major funding boost

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Wright & Wright’s plans to develop the Geffrye Museum finally look set to go-ahead after the east London museum netted a £12.3 million National Lottery grant

Last year the practice won permission from Hackney Council for proposals to transform the 18th-century buildings and increase visitor space by 75 per cent, from 2,000m² to 3,500m².

The scheme replaced a previous, highly controversial, project by David Chipperfield Architects which was eventually refused planning in May 2013, four years after the practice had won the job.

Chipperfield’s design added a two-storey building to the existing Grade I-listed museum, and included the controversial demolition of a former pub at 32 Cremer Street close to Hoxton station.

However Wright & Wright’s plans retain the pub building as a new café for the museum. The practice won the 2014 competition for the job, beating Alison Brooks Architects, Haworth Tompkins, Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects and van Heyningen & Haward.

The museum has now secured all but £1.5 million of the £18.1 million needed to realise the scheme, officially known as the Unlocking the Geffrye development.

Geffrye Museum director Sonia Solicari said: ‘This National Lottery grant is a massive boost and endorsement for the project, for which we are hugely grateful. With this crucial funding secure, alongside the £4.3 million we have already raised, we can now press ahead with raising the final £1.5 million to make our vision a reality.

’Every extra penny donated will make it even better.’

’With support from trusts and foundations, donors and our visitors, we will make the Geffrye a better, even more inspiring place for all.’

Clare Wright of Wright & Wright Architects said: ‘At a time when local authorities and schools are struggling financially, it is fantastic that the National Lottery has said yes to this project. It will provide facilities for children, isolated groups and the local community.

’Every extra penny donated will make it even better.’

Work is expected to start on site in early 2018, when the museum will close for an 18-month period, reopening in late 2019.

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