Rick Mather Architects won second place in this international competition. A simple, lightweight glass roof encloses the courtyard as an exhibition space. Two staircases curve up around the reading room to a new roof terrace and down to the new basements, so that all the extensive collection could be stored and displayed on site.
The scheme liberates Smirke's hidden courtyard facades and realises the full potential of the site with the cylindrical Reading Room as the hub of an entirely new circulation system. A simple, lightweight glass roof encloses the courtyard as an exhibition area and promenade. New elements are discreetly inserted: a transparent block for the Museum shop with a roof garden above adjoins the Reading Room and a generous rotunda below gives access to new basement accommodation. The courtyard becomes the focus of the Museum and restores this spectacular space to the heart of London.
Museum Practice Magazine
Javier Pes - Summer 2009