Wright & Wright Architects has revealed their designs for the Geffrye Museum in East London, a £15 million redesign that will increase the museum's total space by almost 40% through "unlocking" previously unused areas of the museum's 18th century almshouses. The design replaces a scheme by David Chipperfield Architects, which last year failed to secure planning permission in part because of the hugely controversial proposal to demolish the former Marquis of Lansdown Pub that occupies the corner of the site.
In the new scheme, the Marquis of Lansdown is converted into a cafe, in addition to a new gallery in the lower ground floor of the almshouses, and reinstating first floors to house a library and study collections. There is also a new pavilion extension added in the museum's gardens to house learning activities for school groups and special events.
"The spellbinding magic of the Geffrye Museum, so beloved to generations of Londoners, is a product of the synergy between its setting; the historical almshouses and the wonderful display of its period rooms," said Clare Wright of Wright & Wright Architects. "Our proposals work with and develop this, to ensure the long-term preservation of the almshouses and the museum’s unique ambience, adding much needed accommodation within the existing buildings, complemented by two small and subtle additions, which will enhance the building and its gardens and ensure the long-term survival of this wonderful London treasure."
The museum plans to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund in November to fund the reconstruction. For the next few months, it is also hosting a pop-up exhibition of the designs for visitors to see the designs and leave feedback, and is hosting an open evening on Tuesday November 4th from 6pm - 7.30pm, offering the opportunity to hear more about the design.
"We have been working closely with Hackney Council, English Heritage and local community partners to develop the scheme, and have been thrilled with the support we’ve received so far," said David Dewing, Director of the Geffrye Museum. "We want to encourage as many people to come along to the museum to see the plans and tell us what they think."