Montagu Evans has advised on its second Stirling prize project, this year helping to secure planning consent for the British Museum’s World Conservation and Exhibitions Centre (WCEC), which has just been shortlisted for the prestigious RIBA award.
Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the WCEC building is located on the north-west corner of the British Museum site in Bloomsbury. It consists of five vertically linked pavilions (one of which is located entirely underground), and houses a new exhibition gallery, laboratories and conservation studios, storage, and facilities to support the Museum’s logistical requirements and loans programme.
Chris Miele, Partner in Montagu Evans’ planning and development team, said: “This is a remarkable building and represents a significant further development on this site. It solves a number of problems and provides a very important set of functions – international-standard exhibition space for temporary exhibits, state-of-the-art conservation science labs and deep level storage for many sensitive objects.
“At a more technical level, its construction entailed deep basements next to Grade I listed structures and presented a number of other planning challenges – and of course the design of the building was of paramount importance because of its sensitive location in a conservation area.”
Announcing the shortlisting, the RIBA commented that: “The jury appreciated the way the architects had overcome planning and heritage concerns in relation to the building for new offices which are sunk below ground but grouped around an attractive glass-roofed central space.
“Generally the jury admired the skill and control the architects had demonstrated in realising the client’s enormously complicated and demanding brief while maintaining a rigorous and disciplined plan and an elegant external cladding system.”
Montagu Evans has previously advised on the Blavatnik New School of Government for Oxford University, which was a Stirling Prize runner up in 2016.
The firm is currently advising on work for the National Gallery, South Bank Centre, Royal Botanic Gardens and Leighton House Museum in London and for the RHS at Wisley. It has previously advised the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.