National Maritime Museum

  • Location

    London

  • Client

    The Royal Museums Greenwich

Creating a new centre of excellence for The Royal Museums Greenwich

The Royal Museums Greenwich’s current Collections and Conservation function is spread over five locations; Feathers Place, Lawrence Trading Estate, Woolwich Brass Foundry, Chatham and the Kidbrooke site. The disparate location of these centres presents logistical difficulties when transporting collections between locations for photography and conservation treatment.

The purpose of this redevelopment is to provide the museum with new modern stores, photography and conservation studios, creating a new centre of excellence for the museums conservation work. The museum’s current Conservation Studio in Feathers Place is within an old school building which although architecturally beautiful, does not provide the environment required by the team to best deliver their conservation tasks.

Because of the bespoke nature of this project museum stakeholder engagement meetings were organised to provide weekly progress reports and to engage museum staff in the design process. Department leaders were presented with diagrams that displayed specific information from the room data sheets in an understandable and graphically interesting way. The graphics and diagrams illustrated not only data, but highlighted groups of spaces with similar requirements (identical temperature requirement, ceiling heights, intended staff capacity etc.). These requirements, along with the needs of the stakeholders, heavily influenced the design and have led to a well-informed, functional scheme.

The collection of functional robust materials suit both the use of the building and surrounding industrial context. The position and size of glazing and feature windows reflects the internal use with long thin windows where conservation staff require even light in the painting conservation studios and high level clerestory windows where deeper rooms require large amounts of daylight.

RMG wish to maintain and improve its operations at Kidbrooke, ancillary to its principle role in displaying historic artefacts to educate and inform visitors.  The introduction and consolidation of its conservation activities at this site will deliver a conservation centre of excellence.  The introduction of an educational facility will be of benefit not just to local establishments but wider afield also.