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Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:32

British Museum Reveals Monumental Expansion

On July 11 the British Museum unveiled its World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (WCEC), one of the largest developments in its 260-year history. The center is a significant addition to the Museum’s estate of notable architecture.

Designed by lead architect Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), Stirk described its style as an “architectural vocabulary quite new to us . . . emotional modernity.” The Centre comprises five pavilions with a public temporary exhibitions gallery accessed through the main east entrance. The Centre as a whole, however, is a non-public “support” building. Three of the Centre’s five pavilions plug into a three-sided courtyard behind the Museum’s King Edward VII building; a fourth aligns with the King Edward street frontage; and the fifth is 68 percent below ground with a light-filled atrium. The pavilions will house world class conservation studios, science laboratories, storage, and a collections hub for loans. Stirk and RSHP architect John McElgunn led a tour for the press.

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