Posts tagged with "Museum of London":

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BIG among six firms shortlisted for the new Museum of London

The Museum of London has released a shortlist of six firms that will compete to design the museum at its new 269,000 square-foot location in West Smithfield, only a stones throw away from its original site at the Barbican. The new museum has a construction budget of $185-210 million.  The current building, designed by Hidalgo Moya and Phillip Powell in the 1970s, will become the new location for the London Symphony Orchestra despite protests from Leon Krier. Also shortlisted in the competition, which was organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, were:
  • Caruso St John Architects (U.K.)
  • Hawkins\Brown(U.K.) with Asif Khan (U.K.)
  • Diener & Diener Architekten (Switzerland) with Sergison Bates Architects (U.K.)
  • Lacaton & Vassal Architectes (France) with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio (U.K.)
  • studio Milou architecture (France) with RL&Associés (France) and Axis Architects (U.K.)
According to the competition website, almost 80 teams (formed from 140 firms) entered the initial stage of the contest. The entrants were whittled down on the basis of "relevant skills and experience, particularly, those involved with significant cultural projects which have had a truly transformational impact." The new site, part of Smithfield Market, dates back to 1879 but was closed in 1999. The interior boasts 16 ornate Phoenix Columns but has otherwise remained empty for a number of years. The competing architects and designers were tasked with "regenerating a nationally-significant landmark and creating new contemporary galleries." In doing so, the competition organizers sought a "memorable" museum with "charismatic identity" that combines historic Smithfield and modern design. Entrants also had to cater to the museum's enormous archaeological archive and projected increase in attendance figures (over 2.25 million visits per year, based on recent trends and the implementation of the CrossRail rail link). The six shortlisted practices will now be asked to produce concepts based on a more detailed project brief. Their proposals will be on display at the current building and a winner will be selected by a jury later this year. Other objectives for the new museum include:
  • Create contemporary interventions and additions where appropriate which are exemplary and visually stunning.
  • Reflect the site’s evolution from a place of physical exchange to a culture and knowledge exchange.
  • Address new ways of engaging digitally-minded visitors and representing London as the world’s most inventive, creative capital.
  • Reduce operating costs by improving the building’s operational efficiency and sustainability, with a target of the project achieving a BREEAM (UK LEED equivalent) Excellent rating.
  • Increase income generation and visitor dwell time through enhanced retail, catering and event facilities.
  • Ensure the experience of visiting and navigating the museum is equal for all.
  • Ensure appropriate technical, environmental and security requirements are met so that the new museum meets Government Indemnity Standards.
The museum aims to achieve planning permission, raise the necessary capital funds, and deliver the new museum in 2021.
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Leon Krier’s classical alternative proposal for London concert hall causes a stir

Pioneer of Poundbury—a traditional British town built in South West England in 1993—Leon Krier is once again rebelling against the architectural orthodoxy. This time, Krier is attacking the latest proposal for London's concert hall, the new home for the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) by Regent's Park, with his own scheme composed with traditional design. As a counter to relocation of the hall, set to cost $500 million, Krier has put forward his own plan that would see the concert hall be part of a new public square. His scheme would lay near and compliment the architectural style of John Nash's Park Crescent. Writing in Future Symphony, Krier was far from complimentary of the current state of affairs regarding contemporary theatre and concert hall architecture. An as "attendant of innumerable classical concerts, it is not the ravishing beauty of the music but the ghastliness of the Southbank and Barbican concert halls and surroundings which leaves the most enduring, albeit painful, imprint on my mind," he seethed. Neither was he favorable of the current planned location for new concert hall, the (soon former) Museum of London designed by Powell & Moya adjacent to the Barbican. Krier, a former associate of James Stirling and friend of HRH Prince Charles, said London was at risk of more post-war “soul-crushing, inhumane... loathsome aliens.” He advised planners should "take a step back and consider just what were the mistakes of the halls we now need to replace" and "what should be done differently" to form "a truly accessible and enduring home for the London Symphony.” In Krier's eyes, a homage to the past would be both respectful to classical music, giving it the grandeur and classical physical presence it deserves. “John Nash’s laconic and elegant crescent buildings make a quiet urban backdrop for a grand architectural ‘cymbal stroke’ to resonate around London and the musical world: The London Music Forum, an inviting campus for everyone,” he went on to say. His scheme would replicate the Vienna Musikverein and Amsterdam Concertgebouw halls in terms of both size and proportion. He also argued that "the architecture of the new forum’s buildings and paving should speak the elemental classical language with which John Nash so brilliantly set the stage in character and color. Any required 21st century technology can be elegantly embedded in the design." Krier's retaliation comes amid the launching of a competition prompting proposals that would see Smithfield General Market turned into the new home for the Museum of London. Conductor Simon Rattle also proposed the idea of a new venue for the LSO, an idea which, according to BD, has seen many "politicians and cultural figures" jump on the idea of creating a "cultural quarter in the City." Last May, the Conservative Party pledged to support a "modern world class concert hall for London" and provided $7.9 million to fund a business case for the project.
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What the Dickens! Chuck, 200, Obsessed With Design

Charles Dickens would have been 200 today. Among the bicentennial celebrations of the noted Victorian writer, the Museum of London has been hosting an elaborate Dickens and London exhibition including a Dickensian street scene designed and built by set designer Simon Costin for its City Gallery. The "fantastical wintry vision of 19th century London" made entirely of cardboard and lit with hundreds of LED lights includes quite an array of Victorian buildings and winding alleyways. According to Costin, "My intention is to create a fantasy vision of London as it would have been glimpsed by Dickens on his nocturnal wanderings through the city. His essays are extremely evocative and I am using the text as my starting point and things will grow and develop from there. He has said that he felt like a child in a dream, ‘staring at the marvellousness of everything’. It is that marvellousness that I want to recreate." The window display closes this month, but if you're in London, the MoL's Dickens show keeps going through June. (Via Creative Review.) But it turns out Dickens had his own eye for design as well. Hilary Macaskill recently wrote in the Guardian that the Victorian author had quite the penchant for interior design. She cites a 6,000 word article (you can become amazingly descriptive when paid by the word) he wrote about wallpaper and other decorations, where he remarks on the design of American wallcoverings from his recent visit in 1842 along with his own designs for wallpaper. Even in his home at 48 Doughty Street, Dickens enjoyed crafting the interior spaces down to the shade of pink trim and a set of decanters he picked up for "slight bargains." Read the entire article here and check out a slideshow of his home here.