Prince Philip Maritime Collections Centre
Still waters run deep. A calm exterior shelters a diverse ecosystem of people.
A state of the art collections and conservation centre home to scientists, artists, crafters, photographers, researchers and archivists. Together, they care for the world’s largest maritime collection.
All at Sea
The Royal Museums Greenwich Collections and Conservation function was spread over five locations. This presented logistical difficulties when transporting collections for storage, conservation, photography and exhibition.The conservation studio was in a Victorian school building which, although architecturally beautiful, did not provide the environment required to best deliver treatment.
All hands on deck
Because of the bespoke nature of this project, museum stakeholder engagement meetings were organised and weekly progress reports provided to engage museum staff in the design process. The sessions helped us to understand the processes and workflows of each department and enabled us to design a well-informed, functional scheme.
The new building simplifies the logistical process of an object’s journey from arrival, through to conservation, photography, display or storage. Doors, corridors and services are all sized to allow the massive objects and artefacts easy passage through all departments.
The individual requirements of each department have been considered; temperature, light, extraction, furniture, staff capacity. And those departments with similar needs have been grouped together.
So many of the museum’s objects are mixed media, with their conservation treatments raising questions of science, art, craft and ethics. So communication between all departments is crucial.
Open plan offices and accessible studios lend themselves to collaboration. Teams are able to communicate face-to-face, making decisions faster and work more efficient.
To encourage more inter-staff interactions outside of work, we put all social spaces in the middle of the plan, added huge windows and some colour. The general aesthetic of the building as a whole is pared back. However, it was important that the social spaces felt less industrial and more relaxed.
Learning the ropes
Ancillary to its principal role as a collections and conservation facility, the client wanted the building to be a publicly-accessible site. Dedicated learning spaces allow the museum to share their knowledge and experience with the public – creating a centre of excellence for the museum’s conservation work.