Stanton Williams and Asif Khan working together with conservation architect Julian Harrap and landscape design consultants J&L Gibbons have been chosen as the winners of the Museum of London’s international competition for the new museum at West Smithfield.
An outstanding example of London creativity, Stanton Williams and Asif Khan were selected from an inspiring shortlist of six architectural teams by a panel of well-known figures from the world of the arts, media, property, architecture and business, chaired by broadcaster and economist, Evan Davis. The decision brings to a close a six-month long competition funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which attracted over 70 entries, and was managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants.
The vision for the new Museum of London balances a crisp and contemporary design with a strong recognition of the physicality and power of the existing spaces of the West Smithfield site.
Their early stage concept includes:
• A new lifted landmark dome which would create a beautiful light-filled entrance to the museum;
• Innovative spiral escalators transporting visitors down to the exhibition galleries in a vast excavated underground chamber;
• Flexible spaces that can serve as a new meeting place for London and a centre for events and debate;
• A new sunken garden and green spaces to provide pockets of tranquillity.
There was firm consensus amongst the jury that Stanton Williams and Asif Khan presented a concept that had a strong sense of cohesion which honoured the original market buildings as well as having a passion for the project.
The winning architects will now work closely with the team at the museum and the museum’s stakeholders including the GLA, City of London Corporation and the local Smithfield community to develop their initial concepts into a fully-formed vision for the new museum at West Smithfield.
Evan Davis, Chair of the Jury, said of the decision: “The jury knew it would be a difficult choice and that’s what it turned out to be. We had six fantastic teams on the shortlist; each had ideas for the site that were both ambitious and interesting. I would never have guessed that you could take wonderful old buildings like that and turn them into a new museum in so many completely different ways. But after a lot of discussion, a clear winner emerged. Stanton Williams and Asif Khan offered some really innovative thinking, and managed to combine a sensitivity to the heritage of the location, with a keen awareness of the practicalities of delivering a really functional museum.”
Lacaton & Vassal Architectes and Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio were awarded an honourable mention for their thoughtful, contemporary and refreshing design approach.
The museum intends to submit a planning application for the West Smithfield site to the City of London Corporation in 2018 and to deliver the new museum by 2022.
The public exhibition displaying the shortlisted design concepts for the new museum at West Smithfield will remain on display until 11 September 2016.